Solidarity bread in Banias

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Thousands of protesters gathered Tuesday in the coastal Syrian town of Banias, demanding freedom from Syria’s authoritarian regime, witnesses said.

Syrian officials have blocked media access, making it difficult to verify eyewitness reports and video footage.

However, in one of the latest videos to emerge from the ongoing turmoil, protesters in Banias Tuesday appeared to be shaking bread as an offering of solidarity to compatriots in the besieged southern city of Dara. The video is entitled, “Raise the bread to lift the siege of Dara.”

A youth activist from Banias who reported that he helped organize Tuesday’s demonstration in the city center said Syrian authorities sent military reinforcements and armed “thugs” to block entrances to the city’s market while arming militias in areas surrounding the city who are sympathetic to President Bashar Assad’s regime.

“So far it is a peaceful protest,” one Banias demonstrator told the Associated Press, asking not to be identified for fear of reprisals. “Some people are carrying loaves of bread and baby’s milk because our city is under siege and we can’t come or go … We are running out of supplies.”

Time reported Sunday:

Dara’a has been blockaded for a week, without water, electricity, fuel or communications. Food shortages have also been reported. The military has encircled the city and employed tanks, snipers and gangs of armed thugs (known as shabiha) in a bid to pacify the city. Still, the crackdown seems to have served only to further enflame residents, as well as turn the town near the Jordanian border into a potent national symbol of resistance to Assad’s ruthless regime. Rather than crush dissent, the president’s actions in Dara’a have helped fuel it, with activists now calling for a week of rolling “break the siege” protests across the country.

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