Syrian forces fire on funeral process in Damascus

 Syrian security forces today fired live rounds and tear gas at thousands of people marching in a funeral procession that turned into a protest in Damascus, activists said.

It was one of the largest demonstrations in the capital since the 11-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad began.

Several people were reported wounded and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces dispersed the protesters and were conducting a campaign of raids and arrests in the Mazzeh district.

The fresh violence erupted during a visit by an envoy from China, which along with Russia recently supported Syria by vetoing a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Assad's regime.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun called on all parties to stop violence that has killed more than 5,400 people since March of last year, according to the UN.

The funeral procession in Damascus was held for three people killed by security forces on Friday following protests in the area. The activist network Local Coordination Committees said a few people were wounded and several people also suffered difficulties breathing from tear gas.

An activist who witnessed the violence said the procession numbered around 15,000, making it among the largest anti-government gatherings in regime-controlled central Damascus since the start of the revolt inspired by other Arab Spring uprisings around the Middle East and North Africa.

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