Syria lifts emergency laws
Updated: 2011-04-19 22:44
BEIRUT – 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.
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.
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.
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