Akld protest against Syria unrest
Saturday 17 Mar 2012 5:13 p.m.
An Auckland group is calling for donations for civilians in Syria (file pic)
About two hundred people, holding placards saying: "the biggest traitor is the one who kills his people", turned out to a protest against the Syrian government in Aotea Square, Auckland, from 2pm on Saturday.
The protest was organised by Syrian Solidarity New Zealand.
Speaking to NZ Newswire during the protest, organiser Abdul Arwani praised the New Zealand government for condemning the violence in Syria.
But he urged New Zealanders to donate money to legitimate aid organisations so Syrian civilians could get much needed food and medical supplies.
Mr Arwani said the President of Syria, Bashar Hafez al-Assad, needed to be stopped urgently before more innocent people were killed.
"We're trying to get more people to understand what it going on in Syria because now the regime is using heavy artillery and weapons on the people," he says.
"We now have a terrible humanitarian problem."
He said 200,000 people had already fled Syria over fears for their safety.
Public demonstrations against the Syrian Government began in January 2011. Since then up to 11,000 people have been killed in Syria, according to the United Nations.