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Thousands Of Protesters Demand Reform In Syria

Mostly ethnic Kurdish demonstrators marched after Friday prayers in Qamishli, Syria, on April 15.
Activists and witnesses say thousands of people have demonstrated in several Syrian cities.

The witnesses say about 10,000 people chanted "freedom, freedom" in the southern city of Daraa on April 15, which has become the epicenter of the protest movement.

Others witnesses say demonstrations also took place in the northeastern village of Bayda and in Douma near the capital, Damascus.

In Douma, security forces reportedly fired tear gas and beat protesters with batons as protesters marched toward Damascus demanding reforms.

The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

A Syrian rights group said this week that more than 200 people have been killed in the month-long protests calling for sweeping reforms.

On April 14, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unveiled a new cabinet and ordered hundreds of detainees released in a bid to ease tensions.

compiled from agency reports