A peaceful demonstration of mostly Syrian protesters took place in the center of Athens on 09/03/12. The relatively small crowd of people gathered in Syntagma square to bring attention to the Syrian Crisis and to ask for help and intervention from governments from around the world.
The ongoing violent conflict in Syria kicked off with public demonstrations which began on 26/01/2011, and has now developed into a nationwide uprising. Angry protesters are vehemently demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and the overthrow of his government. To quell the revolutionary uprising, the Syrian government quickly deployed the Syrian Army and several cities were besieged, resulting in reports of alleged appalling atrocities. According to witnesses, soldiers who refused to open fire on civilians were summarily executed by the Syrian Army.
Jassem (last name withheld) was among the demonstrators in Syntagma Square and explained what he was hoping to achieve in today’s protest. “I come from Al-ahwaz, a city of southwest Iran, north-northeast of Basra, Iraq, and I have been living in Greece for approximately 23 years.” “I left my family and friends behind during the Iranian occupation and arrived in Greece when I was just 19.” “Over the years, I have watched news reports from Syria and today, and it is with great bitterness that I see Bashar’s army executing and torturing my people.” “It is only now that people are seeing for the first time disturbing pictures of crimes against humanity, pictures of women and children being murdered in cold blood at the hands of the Syrian regime, snipers targeting and indiscriminately shooting unarmed protesters and enforced disappearances….I am here today, to support the revolution and to plead for help from around the world, to put a stop to this bloodshed.”
Indeed, according to UN figures issued this month, at least 3,500 people have been killed in Syria since March, and UNICEF has reported, based on claims by opposition groups, that over 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons.
Further demonstrations are due to take place in Athens on 18/03 and the 20/04 with the international initiative called “Friends of Syria” also staging protest marches in cities around the globe.