NICOSIA (AFP) – Residents of the Syrian city of Hama said they were observing a general strike on Sunday in memory of the dozens of people killed by security forces in a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
“We started a three-day strike on Saturday for the fallen martyrs,” one resident said by telephone from Hama, about 210 kilometres (130 miles) north of Damascus.
“Everything is closed, even the supermarkets. People are just walking through the streets,” he said, adding that “security forces have withdrawn to the outskirts of the city.”
On Saturday, more than 100,000 mourners turned out in Hama for funerals of 48 protesters killed the day before in the city, said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The London-based Observatory said security forces on Friday shot into a crowd of more than 50,000 people gathered for Hama’s biggest rally since protests across Syria erupted against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in mid-March.