Syria troops sent to Deraa, mourners demand freedom

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Monday, 21 March 2011 12:01 GMT

DAMASCUS, March 21 (Reuters) - The Syrian army deployed on Monday at the entrances to the southern city of Deraa as officials tried to calm passions following protests for freedom in which five civilians died, residents said.

Thousands of mourners marched at the funeral of 23-year-old Raed al-Kerad, the latest protester to be killed by security forces on Sunday. Mourners chanted slogans demanding political freedom and an end to corruption.

The mourners later gathered at the al-Omari mosque in the old quarter of Deraa near the border with Jordan.

Troops set up checkpoints at the entrances of Deraa and were checking identity cards. The Syrian justice minister arrived at a city hall. (Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi and Khaled Yacoub Oweis, editing by Tim Pearce)

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