Reporting from Cairo — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in Syria on Friday for the third time in a week despite the threat of beatings and arrest.
In Damascus, protests erupted after noon prayers at the Umayyad Mosque in the old city. Dozens of protesters were met by police and plainclothes security officers, and several were beaten and arrested.
In Dara, a city close to Syria's southern border with Jordan, witnesses said protesters smashed statues and set fires. A video on YouTube showed fire brigades using water cannons to disperse crowds.
The protesters there chanted, "Makhlouf, you are a thief," a reference to Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the president and owner of many of the country's biggest businesses. News agencies said several people were killed.