Protesters stormed the governor’s office in a city in southern Syria, killing two people in the clash

AMMAN, Dec 4 — Dozens of protesters angry over Syria’s worsening economic situation stormed the governor’s office in the southern city of Sweida on Sunday and clashed with police, officials and witnesses said.

Earlier, more than 200 people gathered around the building in the center of the city, which is mainly inhabited by Druze, chanting slogans calling for the overthrow of the authorities. Syrian President Bashar Assadthey said, amid spiraling prices and economic hardship.

“Road to Assad,” the crowd chanted. In Syria, anti-government protests are not tolerated and are rare in government-controlled areas.

Syrian state media reported that dozens of “outlaws” broke into the governor’s office and burned documents and official documents.

The Interior Ministry said they also attempted to seize the city’s police headquarters, and one policeman was killed in the clash.

“We will prosecute all lawbreakers and take all legal action against anyone who dares to disturb the security and stability of the province,” the government said in a statement.

People hold placards during a protest in Sveida.
Demonstrators called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Suwayda 24 via REUTERS

Three witnesses told Reuters the governor was not in the vacated building before protesters stormed in and stormed the offices.

“The governor’s office is completely on fire from the inside,” said civil activist Ryan Maarouf, editor of Suwayda 24, a local website that covers the southern region. He said several people were injured in the shooting.

“There was heavy gunfire,” Maarouf told Reuters, adding that it was unclear where the gunfire came from in an area heavily policed.

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Protesters gather in Sweida, Syria.

More than 200 people gathered around the building where the governor’s office is located.

Protesters gather in Sweida, Syria.

One of the demonstrators died from gunshot wounds, another is being treated in hospital.

Smoke rises near the building as people take part in the demonstration.

Syrian state media reported that dozens of “lawbreakers” broke into the governor’s office and burned files and official documents.

According to a source at the city hospital, one of the civilians being treated died of gunshot wounds, while another was still in the hospital after receiving gunshot wounds.

The province of Sweida escaped this situation violence has been observed in other parts of Syria Since the start of the more than decade-long conflict that began after pro-democracy protests against Assad’s family rule were violently suppressed by security forces.

The minority Druze sect, whose faith derives from Islam, has long resisted being drawn into Syria’s conflict, which pits mainly Sunni rebels against Assad’s rule.

A car caught fire while people were protesting.
A police car caught fire in the city of Swaida, Syria, where people were participating in the demonstration.
Suwayda 24 via REUTERS
A police car is on fire while people are participating in the demonstration.
One policeman was killed in a clash with protesters.
Suwayda 24 via REUTERS

Many community leaders and senior religious leaders of the Druze refused to allow the army to enter.

Syria is in the throes of a deep economic crisis, after many people deadly conflict It has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and left millions struggling to afford food and basic goods.

Eyewitnesses from Sweden told Reuters that after entering the building, protesters threw down pictures of Assad.

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