March 19, 2011 / 11:03 AM / 6 years ago

Mourners of Syrian protesters chant for freedom

DERAA, Syria (Reuters) - Thousands of mourners chanted for freedom and accused Syrian authorities of treason at the funeral on Saturday of two protesters killed by security forces in the southern city of Deraa.

"God, Syria, Freedom. Whoever kills his own people is a traitor," the mourners shouted as they marched behind the coffins of Wissam Ayyash and Mahmoud al-Jawabra.

The two were killed when security forces opened fire on Friday on civilians at a peaceful protest demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption in Syria, ruled under emergency laws by President Bashar al-Assad's Baath Party for nearly half a century.

A third man, Ayhem al-Hariri, was also killed. He was buried in a village near Deraa on Saturday.

Protests against Syria's ruling elite, inspired by the revolts that have swept through the Middle East and North Africa, have gathered momentum this week.

Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi; Editing by Peter Graff

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