BEIRUT (AP) — Friday prayers are being followed by more deadly violence in Syria.
Activists say government forces have opened fire at protesters in several parts of the country, killing at least eight people and wounding scores.
Thousands of people have been marching through the streets calling for an end to President Bashar Assad's rule. The Syrian opposition had called today's protests as a show of support for the dissident National Council. It was founded in Istanbul this week in an effort to unite the deeply fragmented opposition.
Activists say a former lawmaker who's now a leading opposition figure was beaten up outside a mosque in Damascus. They say he was rushed to a hospital after the beating, but the extent of his injuries is not known.
The U.N. says the Syrian government's crackdown has left at least 2,900 people dead since the uprising began in March. The toll includes members of the security forces.
(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)