It is not unusual in Syria to see large demonstrations against the United States or whomever is the enemy of the day is. We have grown accustomed to these because we understand their motives and how they happen.
Demonstrations start with a very simple premise: Build fear, build hate. In Syria, we have two kinds of demonstrators: Those who do it out of fear and those who do it out of hate.
Fear in Syria is used to contain the masses; not dissimilar from the act a sheep dog performs in rounding the flock. If you instill enough fear in the people, you can pretty much mold them to your liking and push them to do anything; and for those kindred spirits, Assad has Sednaya and Tadmur prisons to break you and break your family along with you.
Standard procedures of our security services, when a demonstration is ordered by Assad as this anti-American one has, is to send hundreds of security agents in their black Peugeots and armed either w/Kalashnikovs sticking out of their windows or visible handguns around their waists into town to round the flock.
They disperse in the vicinity of the area where a demonstration is to start by covering a circle whose diameter runs across the square where the march begins. And since successful demonstrations are measured by numbers of attendees, the agents knock on every door and every shopkeeper within that circle and simply wave their hands. The wave by itself is meaningful representing a motion of someone who is pushing the air away from his waist. No words are uttered in most cases and no orders are barked. Just a wave.
There is no such thing as not complying. People immediately close their shops, leave their offices, and descend form their homes to gather at the starting point; usually, it is the Martyrs Square honoring our dead during French colonialism. Banners, flags, and slogans on posters are waiting for them to pick-up. This fear group, in certain instances, has to wait for the hate group until it arrives and sometimes, because of their fervor, the hate group awaits the fear group.
The hate group is the one organized amongst associations and professional organizations along the Ba’athist ideology. Within the group, there are two categories of people: The voluntaries and the forced.
The voluntary group participates in demonstrations because it has been flooded with hate messages on Syrian TV and in newspapers; they become emotionally charged against whatever the regime instills in their minds and washes their brains with. In this instance, they charged them emotionally by telling them that Bush killed Syrian children and women. Very few of these people actually support the regime, instead they support messages of hate, and a demonstration is something they look forward to because in real life they cannot express themselves but only when the government tells them to. So, if you see high emotions, as described in some Syrian Blogs, you know why such is happening.
The forced group, on the other hand, is similar to those rounded at their shops and offices, the difference is that the group receives orders to demonstrate from its hierarchy and not from the security agents. Most Syrians within that group are professionals who are neutral and, out of fear, participate but with no emotional attachment whatsoever. They stay at the tail end of the line carrying posters with glazed eyes and thinking of their dinners and their families. They are never approached by the media and they like it this way.
Anytime there is an impromptu demonstration, security agents are responsible to round as many men as they can. A demonstration like the one taking place today in Damascus has been organized ahead of time and is mostly filled with the voluntary and the forced groups.
In conclusion, Syrian demonstrators have either been manipulated with false propaganda or are forced into the street either because of fear or because of orders from their hierarchy. None of the groups support the regime but the demonstrations are intended to show the opposite and that is why only interviews with those manipulated voluntaries show-up on Blogs or in news agencies such as AP. By demonstrating against the US policy in Syria, they look like they support the regime, by demonstrating at all to vet their anger, they show us a side intended to scare US diplomats and politicians.
These demonstrations are staged theatrics and do not express the majority of Syrians who deep down are happy to see the US conduct operations inside Syria to further weaken a regime that oppresses them and keeps them languishing in poverty.