Syrian President Officialy Lifts Emergency Rule

April 21, 2011 Updated: April 21, 2011

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad officially ended the country’s 48-year-long emergency rule on Thursday. But the move to quell demonstrations is expected to have little effect.

The death of an estimated 200 demonstrators over the past weeks has instilled demonstrators with anger and an almost fearless drive to continue demonstrations.

Syria’s tightly controlled security apparatus, including the military, have used live bullets on protesters over the past weeks. The Syrian government has blamed the use of live ammunition on fundamentalists.

Leading opposition figure Haitham al-Maleh told Reuters the end to the emergency rule is meaningless “without an independent judiciary and curbs on the powers of the security forces.” The protesters are demanding the release of thousands of political prisoners jailed without trial and for President al-Assad to step down.

Big protests are expected again on Friday after prayers.

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