Emergency Law Scrapped in Syria: Symbolic?

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BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy The Syrian government is ...
BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy The Syrian government is scrapping its nearly five-decades old emergency laws -- but critics say the move is largely symbolic. Protesters complain the government has used the 48-year-long state of emergency to detain political enemies. Scrapping the laws has been the one of the opposition’s biggest demands. (VIDEO FROM THE TELEGRAPH) Correspondents at Al Jazeera call the move a “momentous moment.” CAL PERRY, CORRESPONDENT: “Supreme Security Court has been dissolved. That’s something protesters here certainly will be happy about. It goes to the whole problem of the security apparatus being able to basically detain people without any cause. That’s something people here have really been protesting against.” Lifting the state of emergency is considered a big concession on the part of the regime - but it might not be that simple. Reporting from Cairo - CNN’s Hala Gorani says the Syrian government is sending mixed messages. “Critics say it doesn't really matter because the network of other laws still exist in the country that would allow security forces to detain people that would prevent people from gathering peacefully, that would prevent people from publicly criticizing the government.” The Syrian cabinet also announced it would allow “peaceful” protests -- but drew the line at what it considered “peaceful.” As euronews reports - those who continue to protest aren’t protected despite the regime’s new concessions. "The Syrian Interior Ministry the wave of unrest in Darra, Homs and other cities as an ‘armed insurrection.’ ... Although the authorities have promised to scrap emergency laws, they’ve also warned that terrorist activities will not be tolerated.” Most international observers agree - lifting the emergency laws now isn’t likely to quell protests. An op-ed for Arab News notes at least 17 protesters were killed Monday - and several more on Tuesday. Exact figures are hard to pin down since the foreign press is banned from Syria. “...[M]any fear ... that by lifting the draconian Emergency law and bringing in another one in its place, the regime is taking away with one hand what it's offering with the other. Most of the sweeping, extraordinary powers that the security forces and the governing Baathist officials currently enjoy under the Emergency law are likely to be retained under the proposed new law.” According to Syrian official news agency SANA - the government is also doing away with the state security court - where the trials of political prisoners take place. Follow Newsy_Videos on Twitter Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy
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