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Fresh protests were taking place Tuesday in the southern city of Daraa, near a mosque that was turned into a field hospital days earlier when police allegedly opened fire on protesters, a witness said.

‘A demonstration is taking place near al-Omari mosque where there are more than 300 wounded people,’ the source who requested anonymity told the German Press Agency dpa.

The protesters in Daraa are calling for a nationwide protest on Friday, but vowed to continue holding anti-government demonstrations outside the mosque until then.

On Monday, thousands attended a funeral in the city for protesters killed in anti-government demonstrations.

A local human rights group says dozens of journalists and students have been arrested over the past 10 days, as protesters have taken to the streets to demand an end to emergency law and greater freedom.

In some cases, protesters have also called for an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, who took over the presidency after the death of his father in 2000.

Five people were killed in clashes since demonstrations started in Daraa, according to the Human Rights Watch. The New York-based organization has urged authorities to stop using live ammunition and excessive force against protesters.

Protesters reportedly torched several government buildings in Daraa, including an office of the Baath Party, which has ruled the country since 1963.

The pro-opposition Facebook page The Syrian Revolution 2011 has, however, denied reports that protesters set ablaze offices.

The state-run SANA news agency meanwhile reported that local residents had ‘expressed rejection and disapproval of the damage caused by rioters, who attacked public and private properties.’

Police were unarmed when they went out to protect citizens and were assaulted by rioters, SANA quoted a policeman as saying. The policeman was injured during the clashes with protesters, according to the report. m&c

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