Activists and families of detainees and the forcibly disappaeared people in Syria on Wednesday drove a “Freedom Bus” around the British capital to draw attention to the plight of tens of thousands of detained and missing people in Syria and urge the international community to put an end to arbitrary detention and kidnappings in Syria.
In addition to London, the Freedom Bus is also set to tour several European cities. “The bus will also carry the solidarity and love of people across the world, who embrace us and raise their voices to demand that we are reunited with our loved ones,” organizers of the campaign said.
Activists held signs that read “this bus carries with it the heartbeat of mothers who are waiting for their children, the longing of husbands and brothers, sisters and wives who wait for their family members to come open their front door once again.”
“Damascus”, “Set Them Free” declared a banner on the red double-decker bus, which was adorned with photos of the campaigners’ friends and relatives they say are currently detained by the Assad regime. The bus carried six Syrian women who came from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and other parts of the United Kingdom to demand freedom for their loved ones.
Campaigners also chanted slogans symbolizing freedom such as “my mother, the oppressor stands between me and you” and “the longer you are imprisoned, the higher your head will be raised.”
The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the plight of those who were detained as part of the years-long war being launched by the Assad regime on the Syrian people.
According to estimates by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, over 215,000 people have been detained by the Assad regime since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)