Britain calls on Syria to allow protests
Britain called Thursday for the Syrian government to allow peaceful protests amid activists' reports that more than 100 anti-regime supporters were killed by police gunfire in the city of Daraa.
"We call on the government of Syria to respect their people's right to peaceful protest and to take action about their legitimate grievances," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers.
"We also call for utmost restraint on all sides, including by the Syrian security forces, during the further protests in Syria that have been called for tomorrow."
His appeal came as 20,000 people gathered in Daraa for the burials of victims killed on Wednesday and chanted support for a growing movement of protest against the regime.
Human rights activist Ayman al-Asswad told AFP security forces had used live rounds when they opened fire on demonstrators in the city, which lies 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the capital Damascus.
The claim could not be independently confirmed, but AFP reporters witnessed sporadic shooting in Daraa on Wednesday.
Syria is the latest state in the Middle East to witness an uprising against a long-running autocratic regime after protesters overthrew the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and rose up against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi as well as against the rulers of Yemen and Bahrain.
© 2011 AFP