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Broadcast Journalist and Multimedia Producer based in Paris, France

Paris protesters call for Syria’s al-Assad to go

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Demonstrators at the Place du Trocadero call for regime change in Syria, 11 June 2011. Photo: LA Bagnetto

Syrian demonstrators took to the streets of cities across the world on Saturday in protest against the Syrian regime. In downtown Montreal about 300 people gathered, chanting, “the people want an end to the regime”. While in Paris near the Eiffel tower activists were demanding for an end to corruption and tyranny.

Radio Report: Anti-Assad protests in Paris

Radio France Internationale

“We are calling for the international community to make a very strong measurement against the Syrian regime to stop immediately the suppression against these people,” Rabi, one of the Syrian demonstrators at Place du Trocadero, told RFI.

“They are only asking for liberty, for democracy. They have these demands and the regime now is only responding by repression,” he added.

Rabi, from the south of Syria, joined around 150 expatriate Syrian demonstrators in central Paris. He’s been in France since 2004 and, following the crackdown on Syrian protesters, he’s received regular reports of torture and the slaughter of children.

In passionate pro-democracy chants, activists singled out members of the Assad family and called for an end to corruption and tyranny.

Although Rabi is careful not to call for the armed involvement of other countries, having seen the situation with the on-going conflict in Libya.

“We are against any military intervention, we are calling only for restriction to travel. For Bashar al-Assad to stay in the country and be condemned by the Syrian people after the victory of the revolution,” said Rabi, who’s part of the Souria Houria activist group.

“No military we only need sanctions, just limit his budget, his money to move all around the world, not only him, everybody who’s giving orders to kill,” he added.

The demonstration in Paris represented not just Syrians, but people from across the Arab world supporting their brothers and sisters.

Ilham, a young female Moroccan activist, supports the Syrian activists, but is cautious about the motives of countries like the United States and Israel.

“We know that there is a game behind this revolution, but we support it,” she said.

According to Ilham, pro-democracy activists in Morocco do not support the overthrowing of their monarchy. But like the Syrians, want a new, more democratic government.

“We are Arabs, and we want our freedom. But with our identity,” she added.

The United States said on Saturday that the Syrian government was creating a humanitarian crisis with its crackdown on protesters. In a statement the White House called for the government to stop the violence.

More than 1,200 civilians have been killed since the revolt began in mid-March, according to rights groups.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

12 June 2011 at 22:10

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