Does anyone here have any idea how and why the massive protests started against Assad?
I'll level with you, I have protested many times over the decades, and have a lot of experience with public events.. When Clinton was in office I was in a protest that got out of hand, people began setting public trash cans on fire, rolled a police car, breaking windows.. crowd gets very weird.. some people ran, some people were stuck (getting their barings, looking for someone, getting the camera out), some people want to be in the middle of the action, and there's always police action when that happens, and the truth is, when you coordnate a public event, the last thing you want is for it to get out of countrol. There's a lot to be said for nice boring protests by comparison to crowd violence.
Syria had protests that were MASSIVE against Assad, and they were PEACEFUL.. it is impressive to see so many people peacefully protesting for months. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFTNGoQyKUo
Assad would rather sacrifice Syrians than change, and now this, is a form of blackmail.