In what has been dubbed as the "Friday of the Children of Freedom" protests yesterday, Hama witnessed the largest demonsration yet, and Syria the largest crackdown to-date, with more than 50 protesters reported killed and several hundred wounded by live ammunition in the key city of Hama alone. These protests across the country were particularly motivated by the torture and killing of the 13-year old Hamza al-Khatib (see Jadaliyya report here).
The spread of the protests to Hama at this magnitude signals the beginnings of a shift in the regime-protesters dymamic, whereby the very sensitive wall of fear that surrounded Hama residents since 1982 has clearly been shattered.
Two days after the killings in Hama, and after today`s reported deaths of 30 protesters in Jisr al-Shaghour, north-west of Hama, the level of mobilization among Syrians is likely to deepen as they begin to rethink the formula that kept many frustrated Syrians at home. Hama has been a litmus test since the begining of the protests in mid-March, and it is highly likely that events there will trigger a stronger wave of protests in the long run. Jadaliyya Editors will have more on this soon.
The live bullets start at the 22-second mark in the first video below.
WARNING: The second video is not for the faint at heart.