Syrian forces break up protest

Scores of plainclothes security officers charged the demonstrators assembled outside the Interior Ministry to demand the release of political prisoners, a Reuters witness said. One demonstrator suffered a gash on his head, others were beaten and at least 15 were detained.

The gathering in Marjeh square, an Ottoman-era square in the centre of the capital, had been silent, with protesters raising pictures of imprisoned relatives and friends, before security forces started hitting them with their batons.

The protesters dispersed after the attack, and security forces continued arresting more people, shoving them into a bus and a darkened van. An interior ministry official said “infiltrators” had tried to stir chaos in front of the ministry.

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