Activists go on hunger strike over Syria

PARIS Tue Sep 4, 2012 12:23pm EDT

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PARIS (Reuters) - Activists have gone on hunger strike to denounce what they say is the international paralysis over Syria and the inability of President Bashar al-Assad's opponents to unite.

The group, made up of Syrians and other nationalities, began the hunger strike in Turkey at the end of August. The movement has since spread to countries including France, the United States and Jordan.

About 40 are on hunger strike, with a further 12 suspending their action until later this month, the group said.

They want the International Criminal Court to open a case against Assad, European Union governments to close all Syrian diplomatic missions and that Egypt to consider refusing Suez Canal entry to any ship deemed to be transporting military aid to the Syrian government.

"The time now is extremely sensitive. I think we now need support from governments and people around the world," said group spokesman Ahmed Naji.

"All these crimes and massacres are being done with the indifference of the international community," said Naji, a former travel insurance executive who fled Syria to Jordan and then Paris in early July.

The activists, who mostly met through social media networks, say their demands must be met by September 20 or their movement will intensify.

Naji said more Syrians and other nationals had indicated they planned to join the strike which would seek to set up permanent camps at prominent landmarks to gain publicity.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Alison Williams)

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