Crowds chanted slogans against the Syrian government in nearly a dozen towns and villages in the southern province of Sweida on Tuesday, activists and monitors said, as protests against the authorities’ new economic measures spread.
“The people want the downfall of the regime!” a large demonstration shouted in unison at one protest in the provincial capital of Sweida, according to Suweida 24, an activist collective reporting on the protests.
A boy in another town carried a cardboard sign that read, “Why did you make the crisps more expensive?” – a reference to rising food prices.
Syria is in a deep economic crisis that saw its currency plunge to a record 15,500 Syrian pounds to the dollar last week in a rapidly accelerating free-fall. It traded at 47 pounds to the dollar at the start of the conflict 12 years ago.
Sweida, which is home to most of the country’s Druze community and has remained in government hands throughout the war, was largely spared the unrest seen elsewhere. Open criticism of the government remains rare in the areas it controls.