Anti-government sentiments in Syria turned a deadly corner after security forces fired tear gas into crowds attending a funeral of two people who were killed in a prior protest, according to reports.
Thousands assembled for the funeral just outside the city of Deraa in the southern part of the country and chanted anti-government slogans, including God, Syria, freedom, before state security officers intervened.
Protesters had filed out of the Omari mosque after midday prayers.
Secret police reportedly arrested at least one of the mourners, while many others were injured trying to flee.
Security forces reportedly sealed off the city of Deraa, making it difficult for mourners to re-enter it after the funeral.
Smaller demonstrations took place in the central city of Homs and the coastal town of Banias, where one of Syria's two oil refineries is located.
Another protest at a mosque in the capitol Damascus was quickly broken up by security forces.
Syria is one of the most repressive societies in the Ara world. President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000, has enacted economic reforms in the country, but tolerates no opposition. His Baath party has ruled the country for almost half a century.
In 1982, Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President, sent government troops to crush a rebellion in the city of Hama, reportedly killing thousands.
The Syrian regime has also used violence and torture to repress its ethnic Kurdish minority.
In 2004, Kurds in eastern Syria, staged violent demonstrations, resulting in 30 deaths.
Protesters are now demanding democratic reforms, more political freedoms and an end to corruption.
The violence in Syria has been condemned by various western powers, including UK and US.