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Protesters stormed a government building in a southern Syrian city this week in a rare anti-government demonstration over rising prices and economic hardships that have impacted the war-torn country, Al Jazeera reported.

On Sunday, more than 200 people rallied in front of the governor’s office in the city of Sweida, calling for the removal of President Bashar Assad amid economic difficulties.

At least two people died during the clashes, including one police officer. Government officials accused protesters of being “outlaws,” saying they ransacked the governor’s office and attempted to seize the city’s police headquarters, Reuters added.

Sunday’s unrest marked a rare occasion of anti-government dissent in Syria. The government quickly crushed pro-democracy protests that erupted across the country more than a decade ago. Those demonstrations quickly evolved into an ongoing civil war that has killed nearly half a million people and displaced about 50 percent of Syria’s population.

The war and sanctions against the Syrian government have pummeled the country’s economy and the value of the local currency. The United Nations estimates that around 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and more than 12 million don’t have enough to eat.

Although Sweida has generally been spared from the worst of the conflict, tensions between its residents and Assad’s government have been simmering over the past few years.

In February, hundreds of people protested in Sweida to demand better living conditions and democratic rule, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at the time.

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