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Protests Continue in Syrian Town for 3rd Day

The above photo, obtained by AFP through a third-party source, is said to depict protesters in Deraa, Syria, March 18, 2011

Thousands of Syrians are protesting for a third day in a southern town where security forces killed at least four protesters on Friday, and reports say there have been new casualties.

Witnesses in the town of Deraa say that security forces fired tear gas and bullets to disperse the protesters Sunday. A human rights activist says one person has been killed.

The demonstrators are calling for political freedoms and an end to emergency laws. They also want the dismissal of officials responsible for mass arrests.

Syrian officials said a government delegation is in Deraa to offer condolences for the people killed by security forces' gunfire on Friday.

The Reuters news agency says the government also has promised to release some schoolchildren whose arrest for scrawling anti-government graffiti on walls helped to fuel the protests.

Activists in Syria have been seeking greater freedoms under the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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