20 Apr 2011

Emergency law rescinded in Syria

9:46 pm on 20 April 2011

Emergency law has been rescinded in Syria, after being in place since 1963.

Lifting of the law has been one of the key demands of protesters calling for reform.

The state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, has been abolished while a new law allowing peaceful protests has been approved.

However, the BBC reports permission from the interior ministry will be needed to demonstrate.

On Saturday, President Bashar al-Assad promised an imminent end to the state of emergency, which has been in place for 48 years.

Political prisoners have also been freed - another key demand of the protesters.

Meanwhile, security forces reportedly opened fire on Tuesday to disperse an anti-government protest in Homs, the third-largest city in the country.

At least 5000 demonstrators occupied Clock Square in Homs on Monday after funerals for about 12 protesters killed at the weekend.