Syria: Emergency Law Lifted as Protests Continue

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

There were mixed feelings in Syria today as President Bashar Al-Assad announced an end to the emergency law that has been in place in the country since 1963. The country has seen weeks of protests, many of which have been met with deadly force from security officials.

On Sunday 17 April, 2011, following a speech the day before in which President Assad promised an end to the law, a reported 14 demonstrators were killed in the city of Homs.

The end of the emergency law came alongside mixed messages, in which protesters were told to stop demonstrating, as Al Jazeera journalist Cal Perry (@calperryAJ) noted:

@calperryAJ: People in #Deraa tell us they are confused by mixed messages. State of emergency lifted but the Interior Minster told people not to protest.

Mixed feelings

Mixed feelings from Syrians on Twitter were in part a reaction to a protest earlier today, in which medical students at the University of Damascus were allegedly beaten after participating in a peaceful protest. In the video below, uploaded to YouTube by , the students can be seen waving flowers above their heads:

On Twitter, Yazan Badran (@yazanbadran) noted the irony:

@yazanbadran: So, wait, wait, wait. The last thing they did before lifting the state of emergency was to beat up flower-holding med students today? #irony

Syrian flags. Image by Flickr user SamueleGhilardi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Syrian flags

@Basma_ shared a similar reaction:

@Basma_: So now with Emergency law lifted: if#damascus students protested now instead of 2 hrs ago, they wouldn't have ended up in hospitals? #syria

Rime Allaf (@rallaf) sees the President's action as too little, too late:

@rallaf: Amazing: just 1 month ago, lifting martial law would have been so significant & people might have praised it. #Syria

Syrian student @Seleucid is unsettled by the situation:

@Seleucid: The sudden lurches of Syrian official policy are making me queasy.

But @Shantal7afana isn't convinced of the change, and clarifies the law for followers:

 للتوضيح فقط: حالة الطوارئ لم ترفع بعد كما فهم البعض.. بل تم توقيع “مسودة مشروع” لإلغاء حالة الطوارئ #Syria #Freedom

@Shantal7afana: Just to clarify: The state of emergency law has not been lifted as some of you may have understood.. a draft law has been signed to lift the state of emergency #Syria #Freedom

Meanwhile, despite the promise of change, protests continue, according to reports by Sky News.

Photo by Flickr user SamueleGhilardi made available under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.


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