There is sufficient evidence of gross media manipulation and falsification from the outset of the "protest movement" in southern Syria on March 17th. The Western media has presented the events in Syria as "part of the broader pro-democracy protest movement, spreading "spontaneously" from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria. Media coverage has focused on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators were armed gunmen as well as snipers, who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters. The death figures presented in the reports are often unsubstantiated. Many of the reports are "according to witnesses". The images and video footages aired on Al Jazeera and CNN do not always correspond to the events which are being covered by the news reports. There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: Unemployment has increased in recent years, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping "economic reforms" under IMF guidance.