Suwayda Governorate has been witnessing widespread popular protests against the Syrian regime for several months (social networking sites)

Local sources told Al Jazeera that a demonstrator was killed and another wounded today, Wednesday, by Syrian regime forces' bullets in the vicinity of the April 7 Hall, which is the center of the security settlement in the Suwayda Governorate in the south of the country.

The sources confirmed that demonstrators stormed the hall in rejection of settlements with the regime and to confirm their demands to overthrow the Syrian regime.

Pictures broadcast by activists showed regime forces firing live bullets to disperse the demonstrators in the hall and its surroundings.

This is the first death recorded in the demonstrations related to economic conditions, which spread across Suwayda, which has a Druze majority, last year, and quickly turned into protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

#Watch: Suwayda 24 camera documents the moments when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators in the city of Suwayda, which led to the death of one demonstrator and the wounding of another demonstrator, today, Wednesday.

- Suwayda 24 (@suwayda24) February 28, 2024

The Suwayda 24 news website reported that a 52-year-old man died from gunshot wounds after security forces - who were guarding a government building - opened fire on protesters close to the place.

The website added that the spiritual head of the Druze sect, Sheikh Hikmat Al-Hijri, met with the protesters on Wednesday, and described the man who died as a "martyr of duty."

Last August, the increase in gasoline prices sparked widespread protests across Suwayda Governorate, which was largely untouched by the violence that has swept across Syria since 2011, when the Assad government’s suppression of the popular revolution turned into an all-out war.

The protesters quickly criticized President Assad and demanded broad political changes.

Across the governorate, protesters forced dozens of local branches of the ruling Baath Party to close, and tore down pictures of the president and his father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, in a rare show of defiance in areas under government control.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies