Holy smokes -- It looks like Bashar al-Assad has assembled quite a crowd in his own defense over in Syria today. Of course, given that he's pretty much got himself an entire country of devoted slaves, I'm willing to bet that most of the people you see in the shot here have been strongly encouraged to attend.
Not that our wire photographers seem to want to investigate that angle -- The helicopter flying around makes this particular photo stand out, to me. We could either interpret this as SANA trying to get their best shot of the crowd... Or that the Syrian regime wants to keep an eye on the crowd, to ensure that the proper message is being sent.
Anyway, I don't have time for deeper commentary than that, I'm afraid -- but I will link a lot of awesome photos of this staged rally for you to enjoy nonetheless!
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad take part in a rally to support him at al-Umawiin square in Damascus June 21, 2011, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. Several large government rallies took place across the country to support him. Al-Assad issued a general amnesty on Tuesday, a day after he promised wide-ranging but vague reforms to counter a three-month popular revolt against his autocratic rule. REUTERS/Sana/Handout (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS