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Syrian Policeman Killed in Protests

Demonstrators of Kurd origin march after Friday prayers in Qamishli, Syria, April 15, 2011

Syria's state-run news agency says a policeman was beaten to death by protesters Friday in the central city of Homs.

SANA reported Saturday that the police officer was hit with sticks and stones during a pro-democracy demonstration that had turned violent.

Protests flared across Syria Friday, with the biggest demonstration in the southern city of Daraa, which has become the epicenter of the opposition.

The demonstrations, which began last month, have turned violent at times as protesters have clashed with security forces. Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed as authorities cracked down on the protests. Syrian officials blame the unrest on lawless gangs.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, facing growing resistance to his government, announced a new 30-member Cabinet on Thursday and ordered the release of people arrested during protests. The French news agency (AFP) says Assad will address the new government Saturday.

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

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