Protests in Syria’s Druze-majority Sweida province turned violent on Sunday leading to the deaths of a protester and a police officer, and wounding seven others.
Anti-government demonstrations are rare in Syria where President Bashar Assad stamped out a pro-democracy uprising over a decade ago. Assad survived the resulting civil war but the conflict has plunged Syria into poverty, coupled with a food security and energy crisis.
Though Sweida has generally been spared from the civil war, anti-corruption protests have occurred in the Druze-majority province over the past few years, with tensions simmering between residents and the Syrian government led by President Assad.
Dozens of residents gathered by the Sweida governorate building, decrying the dire economic situation and chanting anti-government slogans before some broke into the building.
The Syrian Interior Minister in a statement said that the people who raided the building were armed, and destroyed furniture, smashed windows, and looted files. The statement added that a police officer was killed after protesters attacked a police station.