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Syrians Stage Mass Protests, 11 Dead

A protester in Bahrain holds a banner saying ''Wake up United Nations, Syria waits for your action'' as she protests outside the UN House in Manama on December 30.
Reports say Syrian security forces have clashed with protesters, leaving at least 11 dead, as tens of thousands took to the streets across the country.

Activists said troops opened fire in several localities to disperse demonstrations, including in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

Protest organizers had called for demonstrations to be held on December 30, after up to 40 people were reported killed by security forces the day before.

The bloodshed continues as Arab League monitors say they will focus on the restive cities of Derra, Hama, and Idlib, after already visiting the flashpoint town of Homs.

Activists are doubtful that the observers will do much good.

The United Nations estimates around 5,000 people have been killed in the nine months of protests against the Syrian regime.

compiled from agency reports