Syrian Emergency Law to Be Lifted: Too Little Too Late, Say Protesters (VIDEO)

Bashar al-Assad has announced that the emergency law that has been in place in Syria for 48 years will be lifted in a few days. The law gives the Syrian government and security forces the power to detain any Syrian for any cause. Repeal of the law has been a key demand of protesters who first took to the streets in the southern city of Daraa in March. However, protesters consider Assad’s concessions as too little and too late: At least 200 have been killed and arrests of protesters have continued.

Other demands of the protesters — an end to violence against them by security forces and the release of political prisoners — were not mentioned in Assad’s speech, says the Guardian:

Instead [Assad] talked about Syria’s media, its municipal elections and political parties and, in reference to claims of ministerial corruption, said that ministers should provide details of their income and property. He also acknowledged the country’s economic troubles, calling unemployment “the biggest problem”.

Activists accuse Syrian leaders of framing the demands of protesters in economic rather than political terms – although in eastern areas of the country financial worries are their priority.

“Assad still didn’t talk about the reason for the crisis in the country,” said Razan Zeitouneh, a lawyer and human rights activist in Damascus. “And he ignored the main demands of the people: freedom and democracy.”

The New York Times says that the “foundation of the Assad family’s entire reign, and the security forces’ enshrinement as the all-powerful right hand of the Assads is a fact of everyday life and death in Syria” and further commented on Assad’s speech:

Indeed, in his speech, Mr. Assad signaled that he still felt the need for order trumped all else, saying that no further protests would be necessary — and implying that none would be tolerated — once the emergency law was repealed.

“The Syrian people are civilized and orderly: they love order and they do not like chaos,” Mr. Assad said, adding that the need remained to “strengthen the internal front” against “sabotage.”

…”He is repeating an old speech, this is nothing new,” said Razan Zeitouneh, an activist with the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. “He mentioned dignity several times, but he didn’t mention who it is violating the people’s dignity.”

Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian human rights activist and visiting scholar at George Washington University, points out that, even if the emergency law is lifted, there are other laws — such as the Law Governing the General Intelligence in Syria — that ensure that the security police will maintain their power.

In one apparent sign of change in Syria, one of the most repressive states in the Middle East, at least 1000 women reportedly protested in the coastal city of Banias, an act that would have been unthinkable before March. Tens of thousands marched on Damascus from surrounding areas on Friday, another sign that the uprising is gaining momentum in Syria. Tomorrow, Sunday, is a national holiday in Syria and more protests are planned.

Below is a video of protesters in Daraa setting fire to a picture of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s father.

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Photo by Ahmad Al Zoughbi.

13 comments

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

thanks

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ana p.
ana p7 years ago

thanks for the info.

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AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A7 years ago

You don't need to send the troops to Syria and defend the public, just don't sell them the cluster bombs etc which can be used against their own people.

Ofcourse the Isrealis are waiting on the other side and looking out for a reason to invade and perhaps take a chunk of their land and any other resources.
They will use anything illegal to get what they want even from USA.

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Nick S.
Nick Scales7 years ago

it might be very little- but it's a step in the right direction- It annoys me when US residents bang on about human rights when they support Israel and it's daily military law which abuses anyone non Jewish. Syria isn't perfect but don't knock them for at least trying to change. - off course if there was oil there Cameron, Obama and friends would be planning an invasion force like Libya.

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Lois G.
Lois G.7 years ago

Where are the equal rights in Syria. Where are the rights to date whom ever you wise. I don't see any change in that speech

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Tania Regina G.
Tania Regina G.7 years ago

Watch it! napoleon Obama is going to bomb Ira next. because were are all too stupid to find out the truth

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