July 5 - Amateur video out of Hama shows demonstrators on the streets amid the sound of gunfire with reports that at least 6 are killed by Syrian forces. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Gunfire in Hama. Amateur video purportedly out of Hama shows demonstrators out on the street amid the sound of gunfire. The video which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows injured demonstrators. Syrian forces and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shot dead at least six civilians in the second day of raids on the southern city. Activists say he is aiming to crush protests against his rule. More footage shows protesters on a street. Some seek cover as the sound of automatic gunfire can be heard. Streets in other parts of the city are shut down. Some residents say that tanks are surrounding the city threatening a large-scale assault. Activists unfurl a large banner, written in Arabic and English, off the city's iconic waterwheels landmark. The signs say "Only we wanted (sic) to be treated as human so they kill us." Activists at the foot of the banner are filmed releasing birds as a symbolic gesture. Nighttime footage from Hama purportedly from July 4th shows mass demonstrations. Hama's resistance to the regime is rooted in a 1982 massacre, when the current President's father sent the army in to crush an armed Islamist uprising. That attack killed many thousands, possibly up to 30,000 people. A demonstrators carries a sign that says We have a dream. Last month activists say Syria forces killed at least 60 protesters in the city. Assad sacked the governor of Hama province on July 2, a day after tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding that the Syrian leader step down. With Syria restricting access to foreign media it is difficult to verify accounts of either activists or the government., Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.