Protests broke out in four Syrian cities on Friday, the first large-scale demonstrations here since the pro-democracy uprisings began in the Arab world three months ago.
Brutal police crackdowns followed, leaving six people dead and scores injured.
In the largest protests, several thousand people gathered in the center of Dara'a chanting "God, Syria and freedom only."
They demanded the resignation of the mayor and leader of the local branch of the security police. The police later opened fire on the crowd, killing six.
There were also protests in Banias, Homs and Damascus.
A Facebook page, "the Syrian revolution 2011," has called on people to protest against corruption and repression.