SYRIA- Syrian protesters are trying a different tactic. They're calling for a one-day nationwide general strike. Protesters called yesterday for a one-day nationwide general strike, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against government crackdowns that appear to be turning more brutal and bloody.
“It will be a day of punishment for the regime from the free revolutionaries . . . Massive protests, no schools, no universities, no stores or restaurants, and even no taxis. Nothing,’’ said a statement posted on the main Facebook page of the Syrian Revolution 2011.
Some reports online and at social media shows that the strike has been taking place at Homs and few other Syrian cities, while Officials said nothing about it.
An official military source said Tuesday that eight military personnel were killed and five injured in fights with "armed terrorist groups" in the southern province of Daraa and the western town of Talkalakh, Syria's SANA news agency reported.
The source said army units have arrested a large number of wanted gunmen and seized big quantities of weapons, adding that the military operation has left a number of casualties among the gunmen.
Syrian Interior Ministry said 8,881 rioters have turned themselves in to specialized authorities to benefit from a recent pledge made by the ministry that all those involved in the recent crisis in Syria would be released without punishment if they surrender before May 22.
The strike call came as the United States and European Union planned new sanctions against the Syrian leadership. In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the tighter measures could be imposed in the coming days.
U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that she and visiting European Union High Representative for foreign policy Catherine Ashton discussed more possible sanctions against Syria.
"Today, we discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Assad regime," Clinton told reporters after meeting with Ashton at the State Department.
She said the two expressed "serious concern" about the continued violence in Syria.
Clinton accused Syrian authorities of refusing to "honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people."
"President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed brutal crackdown shows his true intentions," she said.
She also laid out three demands for the Syrian government: stop the violence and the arrests, release all political prisoners and detainees, and begin to respond to the demands of the Syrian people.
Meanwhile, the reports of violence continue as watchdog groups and Syrians fleeing into neighboring Lebanon added to the accounts of violence.
Syria has been in unrest for two months after anti-government demonstrations broke out in the southern province of Daraa. The protests have spread to several other Syrian cities, leading to the death of dozens of protesters and policemen.
The ruling Baath party of Syria, which has ruled the country for decades, announced a package of reforms, including the increase of salaries and release of political detainees.