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Syria: Protests for Release of Political Prisoners, 38 Detained

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

On March 16, following a “day of rage” in Syria, a group of around 150 protesters gathered outside of the Interior Ministry in Damascus, demanding the release of political prisoners. According to the BBC, at least 35 of those protesters were arrested. Among those detained were human rights activist Suhair Atassi. According to @assuss:

#Syria Update: Earlier today Syrian security detained famed human rights activist Suheir Atasi after her interview with #Aljazeera #March15

On Twitter, Syrians reported arrests of others who took part in the protests. @razaniyat tweeted:

Wissam Tarif: Nasreen Al Housien is also detained. She is a student at Damascus University, Faculty of Medicine, fifth Year. #Syria

@wissamtarif noted:

Hasiba Abed Al Rahman aprominent #humanrights defender and writer is also detained. #Syria #March15

Some protesters were quickly released. On Wednesday evening, @razaniyat confirmed:

Confirmed: Mazen Darwish, detained today at the sit-in, was released few minutes ago. #Syria

Confirmed: Mymouna Al Ammar was released a few minutes ago as well. So far two detainees were released. #Syria

On Facebook, a group is keeping a running tally of those who have been detained, as well as those who have since been released. Detainees number 38, with only the two above confirmed to be released thus far.

Photo of sit-in at Damascus’ Marjeh Square, by @razaniyat

One angry Syrian blogger, Khaled Akbik of Middle Eastern Poles likens the Syrian government's treatment of its citizens to Israel's treatment of Palestinians, writing:

To us, you’re no different than our arch-enemy Israel. You do to us everyday what Israel does to the Palestinians everyday. You abused your powers, enslaved your people and stole from them for more than 40 years. You were given a very long chance to make things better and you failed, now your time is up. Now the Syrian people are saying enough. Go back to where you came from because you have clearly failed to rule a nation in every single aspect. Go home while you still can.

Egyptian blogger Zeinobia of the Egyptian Chronicles shared her own thoughts on the small Syrian protests:

The March 15 in Syria can be our January 25 , do not underestimate it. If our dear Syrian brothers and sisters managed to protest till Friday , till the Friday prayers it will be a great triumph. Yesterday sources in Syria speak that not less 300 were arrested during and after the protests.

Still despite these arrests the activists did not give up and decided to protest earlier today in front of the ministry of interior itself , yes the ministry of interior demanding the release of the detainees in a very daring step. The families of the detainees joined them already and that means we are speaking about old ladies , young ladies and children.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

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