At least eight people have been killed during clashes between state security officers and anti-regime protesters in Homs, a town in western Syria, according to reports.

Some reports claim as many as thirty people were killed.

The confrontation between demonstrators and police was reportedly triggered by the death of a tribal elder, Sheikh Badr Abu Moussa, while in detention,

[Moussa] was a healthy man before they took him and a corpse afterwards, a human rights activist told Reuters. The security forces have been dealing brutally with the protesters, but this is too much to take. Homs is boiling. Security forces and the regime thugs have been provoking armed tribes for a month now.”

The activist said the protesters in Homs was killed in cold blood.

The possibility that some protesters were armed cannot be ruled out. The tribes feel insulted and they want revenge. But the security forces were seen driving in trucks and shooting at civilians, he added.

Reuters reported that thousands of people in Homs attended a funeral procession on Monday to mourn those who were killed earlier.

From alleyway to alleyway, from house to house, we want to overthrow you, Bashar, the mourners chanted, according to reports. Either freedom or death, the people want to topple this regime.

One the prior day, at least three people were killed by security forces in the town of Talbiseh, north of Homs.

Apparently, discontent in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is deepening, despite promises for some reforms. On Saturday, Assad indicated that the emergency law which have been in place for 48 years would be lifted this week.

The state-controlled official news agency continues to blame unrest on foreign conspirators and/or criminal gangs, while asserting that life is resuming normalcy in most of the country.

Al Jazeera reported that the atmosphere in Homs is extremely tense.

People are complaining that many of the wounded are not going to the hospital, they fear that the security forces will pick them up from their hospital bed, an Al Jazeera correspondent stated.

There is also a shortage of blood according to the people we have been talking to. People are concerned that clashes might erupt following the [funeral] processions.