Syria to Lift 48-Year Emergency Rule, but Suppression Continues

April 19, 2011 Updated: April 19, 2011

Syria’s government approved a law to lift the country’s 48-year long emergency rule on Tuesday.

It is the biggest concession so far made by Syria's leadership has made to demonstrators. Under the emergency rule any form of opposition in Syria has been suppressed for almost half a half a century.

It was announced that the Supreme State Security Court, used to try political dissidents, will be abolished.

Rights groups are describing the reforms as hollow, since Syrian security forces are at the same time continuing its violent suppression protesters.

On Tuesday, security forces opened fire on protesters who had gathered by the thousands in the central square in Homs, Syria’s third largest city. According to Amnesty International, an estimated 220 protesters have been killed over the past month.

Protesters, inspired by similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, are demanding the resignation of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

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