Syrians Now Protest Under Cover of Night

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Photo: Mustafa Ozer/Getty Images

Because daytime protesting has led to widespread clashes with government forces, protesters critical of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have taken to protesting at night. Since opposition forces began in mid-March, more than 1,000 protesters have been killed, more than 10,000 protesters have been imprisoned, and opposition groups hope night protests will discourage al-Assad's forces from aggressively attacking them. Al-Assad's followers shouldn't take it as a concession, but rather as a change in tactic: “The evening demonstrations are not the last thing,” said an anonymous activist from the northern city of Aleppo. “We have other tactics for the coming weeks and months. We expect our uprising to continue for a long time ... We come up with ideas that security forces don’t expect. The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings sparked our movement, but we are improving the tactics day by day.”

In fact, as the months wear on, Syria's opposition forces only seem to become more organized. “The protests will continue and will get bigger and stronger because the protesters are now more organized and more experienced,” said Bourhan Ghalioun, director of the Center for Contemporary Oriental Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, “And they will keep protesting until they realize all their demands,” he said. “They will no longer accept a government imposed on them by the power of tanks.”

In New Tack, Syrians Protest at Night to Elude Forces [NYT]