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Friday, April 22, 2011

Syria: 'Troops Fire Teargas At Protesters' - 22nd Apr 2011

Syrian security forces have used teargas to disperse protesters in the capital Damascus, according to reports.

It follows reports the Syrian army was deployed overnight in the city of Homs - ahead of Friday prayers.

Syria's protest movement has promised a day of demonstrations on what it is calling 'Great Friday'.

It comes despite the lifting of draconian emergency laws in a move intended to herald a new era in human rights.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has issued decrees ending nearly five decades of emergency law and abolishing state security courts.

State TV said citizens would be allowed to protest peacefully – but the pledges looked hollow after new pictures emerged of troops firing live rounds at demonstrators in Homs.

It is believed they were filmed early on Tuesday morning after demonstrators tried to stage an Egyptian-style sit-in in the main square.

Emergency law was imposed in Syria when the ruling Baath Party seized power in 1963.

It restricts many civil liberties, including public gatherings and freedom of movement, and allows the "arrest of anyone suspected of posing a threat to security".

The state security court exists outside the ordinary judicial system and usually prosecutes people considered to challenge the authority of the government.

A decree issued by President Assad said citizens would now be granted "the right to peacefully demonstrate", noting this was one of the "basic human rights guaranteed by the Syrian constitution". Read More