Nova Scotia

Syrian protesters face off in Halifax

Demonstrators supporting rival sides of ongoing protests in Syria faced off in a Halifax square Sunday.
Halifax police keep a close eye on protesters at Sunday's demonstration about unrest in Syria.

People backing rival sides of ongoing protests in Syria faced off in a Halifax square Sunday.  

There were a few tense moments as about 20 people supporting the Syrian government and 20 people opposed to it met at Victoria Park. Four police officers watched the rivals chanting and kept them to opposite sides of the square.  

The rally was organized by a local group that supports the Syrian government, but another group critical of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad also attended.

Roy Khouri organized the rally to show support for the Syrian leader.

"Assad, we support you. You're the leader for all the Arab nation countries," Khouri said. "He's the leader, he's the man, we need him. He opened all the country. He opened Syria for good, for everything. We want him always, we will always support him, we will always vote for him."

Khouri said he was surprised to see the anti-government protesters show up.

Omar Alisso was with the anti-government group and said his native country has gone too far in cracking down on protests. Dozens of demonstrators and security personnel have died in Syria in recent weeks.

"I'm down here today just to protest and condemn what is going on in Syria. The killing and the raping, and a lot of people so far being killed in peaceful demonstrations and people seeking freedom and justice," he said.

The Syrian protests are part of a wave of action that has unsettled governments across the Middle East.