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Syrian police open fire on Kurdish rally

- March 13, 2012 - Updated 28 PKT - From Web Edition

BEIRUT: Syrian police opened fire Monday on tens of thousands of Kurds who flooded the northeastern city of Qamishli on the eighth

anniversary of deadly clashes with security forces, a watchdog said.


Three people were wounded when police opened fire to disperse the demonstrators, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.


"Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the city to mark the eighth anniversary of the Qamishli uprising," the Britain-based group said.


Protesters carried Kurdish flags, it said. A video posted online by militants showed people on the roof of a building said to be the headquarters of military security in nearby Amuda also waving the Kurdish flag.


The video showed a statue of late Syrian strongman Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad who ruled the country with an iron-fist until his death in 2000, being pushed from the top of the building and people below kicking the debris.


Eight years ago on March 12, 2004, clashes between Kurds and members of Arab tribes backed by security forces in Qamishli killed 40 people. The government said only 25 died in six days of violence.


Kurds represent around nine percent of Syria's 22-million-strong population. Most of them live in the northeast and in the capital Damascus.


They repeatedly complain of discrimination and demand recognition for their culture, their language and that they be treated like fullfledged citizens of Syria. (AFP)

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