Intellectuals attacked, detained in Damascus protest, activists say
At least 60 people, including prominent intellectuals, were attacked and arrested by security forces during a demonstration in the district of Midan in the Syrian capital Damascus Wednesday night, according to activists, DPA reported.
The protesters chanted slogans demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down, before security forces and pro-government thugs attacked them, said the Avaaz Citizen Journalists, an online activist group.
It added that the detainees included film actors, journalists and writers.
Avaaz also reported that an overnight protest was held near Damascus in support of the central city of Hama, which was recently the scene of massive anti-government demonstrations and a security crackdown.
The protesters dispersed before the security forces arrived, it added.
Syrian activists say more than 1,400 people have been killed as Syrian forces continue to move against nationwide protests against the regime of al-Assad since mid-March.
The Syrian government has disputed the death toll, saying "armed thugs" and foreign conspirators are behind the unrest in the country.
Such reports are hard to verify because the Syrian authorities bar foreign media from entering the country.