Syrian government lifts emergency laws, warns protesters

Syria’s government approved lifting the country’s nearly 50-year-old state of emergency Tuesday to meet a key demand of anti-government protesters, but also issued a stern warning to demonstrators to call off their challenges to President Bashar Assad’s hard-line rule.

The mixed messages — just hours after security forces stormed an occupied square in Syria’s third-largest city — leave ample doubt about whether authorities will ease their increasingly harsh blows against the month-old protests. Assad’s regime has labeled the protest movement as an “armed insurrection” that could give them the cover to continue the crackdown.

Assad last week had told his cabinet to remove the state of emergency — in place since his Baath Party took power in March 1963 — but added that such a move would give protesters no more reason to take to the streets. This could give Assad further pretext to move against any further marches or rallies.

Syria’s official news agency SANA said the cabinet also approved abolishing the state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, and approved a new law allowing the right to peaceful protests. The changes need parliament approval, but no objections are expected at its next session planned for May 2.

Most of Syria’s 23 million people were born or grew up under the strict control of the state of emergency that, among other things, puts strict control on the media, allows eavesdropping on telecommunications and permits arrests without warrants from judicial authorities.

The regime had claimed the reason for the emergency rule is because of the technical state of war with archenemy Israel, but rights groups and others say it was mostly used to as the backbone of the authoritarian system.

seattlepi

  • antar2011

    what’s the use of abandoning emergency rule but not allowing pple tp demonstrates other then showing the international world that he is making some changes in his country so they can back off him a bit.

    if there is any reason for syrian pple to want to get rid of bashaar he just gave them the perfect reason to topple him.

    yet again, Bashaar an his Baath party has not offered his pple anything but mere lip services.

    demonstrating is syria’s pple right as citizen in their country. granting them this right is merely giving them their right rather then granting them concessions.

    there is nothing more offensive and dishonourable to the syrian pple then this news from syrian.

    may God grant the syrian pple victory over their tyrant and his Baath party.

  • Anonymous

    what’s the use of abandoning emergency rule but not allowing pple tp demonstrates other then showing the international world that he is making some changes in his country so they can back off him a bit.

    if there is any reason for syrian pple to want to get rid of bashaar he just gave them the perfect reason to topple him.

    yet again, Bashaar an his Baath party has not offered his pple anything but mere lip services.

    demonstrating is syria’s pple right as citizen in their country. granting them this right is merely giving them their right rather then granting them concessions.

    there is nothing more offensive and dishonourable to the syrian pple then this news from syrian.

    may God grant the syrian pple victory over their tyrant and his Baath party.

  • eliasfd

    The Arrogance of Authority

    A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.
    He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”
    The rancher said, “Okay , but don’t go in that field over there…..”, as he pointed out the location.

    The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, ” Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me !”
    Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.
    “See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish…. On any land !!
    No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear……do you understand ?!!”

    The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

    A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull……
    With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
    The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs…..

    (I just love this part….)

    “Your badge, show him your BADGE…….. ! !”

  • Anonymous

    The Arrogance of Authority

    A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.
    He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”
    The rancher said, “Okay , but don’t go in that field over there…..”, as he pointed out the location.

    The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, ” Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me !”
    Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.
    “See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish…. On any land !!
    No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear……do you understand ?!!”

    The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

    A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull……
    With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
    The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs…..

    (I just love this part….)

    “Your badge, show him your BADGE…….. ! !”