DAMASCUS, Syria, May 4 (UPI) -- In the ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests more than 1,000 people have been arrested since Monday, a human rights group said.
The arrests occurred in Damascus, Homs, Zabadani, Madaya, Harasta, Aleppo, Latakia and Tartous, as well as other towns and cities, the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said in a statement on its Web site. In some cases it listed the names of those detained.
"We condemn the continued use of violence and excessive force by the Syrian authorities against citizens demonstrating peacefully and we express our deep concern and condemnation of such practices," the organization said.
"The government has launched a violent campaign for the suppression of six weeks of protests that began (by) demanding more freedom and is now pushing to topple Assad," The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Web site said.
Amnesty International expressed concern over the wave of arrests that it said escalated over the weekend.
Recently released detainees told the organization they were held in harsh conditions and beaten. This raises "fears for the safety of hundreds of others being held," the organization said.
"These disturbing new accounts of detainees being tortured further underscore the need for President Bashar Assad to put an end to his security force's violent onslaught against his own people," Philip Luther, the organization's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa said.
The Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page urged protesters to stage sit-ins throughout the country and said cloth or a tissue moistened with vinegar is effective in combating the effects of tear gas fired at protesters.