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Syria emergency laws to be lifted: president

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] on Saturday announced in a televised speech that he will lift emergency laws [UPI report] that have been in place for 48 years. For the past four weeks, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets each Friday, demanding, in part, that the emergency laws be revoked. The law will be formally lifted next week, he said.

Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] that Syrian security forces have stopped medical personnel [JURIST report], sometimes violently, from attending to injured protesters. A spokesperson for the group called the practice "both inhumane and illegal." According to the report, at least 28 protesters died Friday in protests spread across three cities. Witnesses said security forces opened fire when civilians tried to remove the injured from the scenes and that in Daraa an ambulance was blocked from reaching wounded protesters.

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