The al-Hassan mosque is a well known hot spot here in Damascus. People say that demonstrators take to the streets every Friday.
Today, it started at the end of Friday prayers with people chanting against the Syrian regime and condemning the army operation in the southern city of Deraa, where a large number of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.
When the crowds then took to the streets near the mosque, both uniformed and plainclothes security were waiting in the square nearby. Clashes erupted immediately.
Both sides threw stones at each other. Police then used tear gas and fired live rounds to disperse the crowd. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but an ambulance rushed to the scene.
The BBC also reports that at least five people have been killed today in protests across the country.
Five people were killed during a demonstration in Homs, Syria’s third city and scene of a bloody crackdown last month, and one in Hama, which lies to the north, activists said.
“Five bodies were picked up in the Bab al-Sibaa area [of Homs]. There are scores of injured protesters,” one told the Reuters news agency.
Prominent dissident Riyad Sayf – who has spent years in prison since President Bashar al-Assad came to power – was arrested, activists said.
There were reports of other protests, including in the Damascus suburb of Saqba, the town of Tal, north of the capital, and Baniyas.