Syrian security forces open fire on thousands of protesters demanding an end to President Bashar Assad’s regime, killing more than 30 people in a sign that the authoritarian leader is prepared to ride out a wave of rapidly escalating international outrage.
Rallies are held in major areas including the capital, Damascus, and its suburbs. In the seven weeks of unrest, more than 580 civilians and 100 soldiers have been killed, according to rights groups.
The U.N. says it is sending a team into Syria to investigate and the European Union is expected to place sanctions on Syrian officials next week—both significant blows to Assad, a British-educated, self-styled reformer who has tried to bring Syria back into the global mainstream over his 11 years in power.
Amnesty International says Moammar Gadhafi’s forces may have committed war crimes in the western rebel-held city of Misrata and the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating there because of regime attempts to tighten its siege and block access by sea.
The group says Libyan troops have indiscriminately fired heavy artillery, rockets and cluster bombs at residential areas of Libya’s third-largest city during a two-month siege, in a clear breach of international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says killing Gadhafi wasn’t the objective of the international military mission in Libya, but that his death was not inconceivable.
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis seeking their president’s ouster find a new way to get their message across, releasing balloons that drift over the presidential palace with the message “Leave, Ali” painted on them.
The tens of thousands of colorful balloons fly across the capital and over top of the palace, where a smaller rally of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters listens to the embattled leader deliver a message of his own denouncing his opponents as terrorists, looters and killers.
Saleh has spurned mediation efforts by a bloc of powerful Gulf countries that would have had him relinquish power in return for immunity from prosecution.