There were sporadic rallies this week in villages around the southwestern city, as protesters blocked roads and dozens gathered in the city’s main square to demand the end of subsidy cuts that followed a hike in gasoline prices in recent months.
The government says the cuts to the previously generous subsidy program are aimed at easing the financial resources of the sanctions-hit country and will only affect the rich.
But many protesters say the move has exacerbated the plight of Syrian citizens who have survived a devastating decade-long war and are now struggling to secure food and basic supplies in the face of rampant inflation and eroding wages.
Witnesses said hundreds of security personnel were seen praying in buses from Damascus, as activists urged people to take to the streets on Friday.
“We want to live in dignity,” the demonstrators chanted, and some carried banners reading “Nothing is left for the poor” and waved the Druze sect’s flag.
No protests were reported in state media, while Presidential Adviser Buthaina Shaaban wrote in a major state-owned newspaper on Monday that the pro-democracy protests that erupted in 2011, crushed by security forces and developed into more than a decade of conflict, were inspired from abroad. to destroy the country.
Druze sheikhs said peaceful protests against unjust government measures were justified.
Protests are rare in government-controlled territory, and the Druze minority has long resisted being drawn into the country’s civil war.