Yesterday President Bashaar al-Asad lifted the Emergency Law, dissolved the notorious State Security Courts, and legalised peaceful protests.
After the president’s decree, a lawyer asked permission to hold a protest in Hasakeh. He was detained by security forces.
Today – ‘Great Friday’ – large, peaceful, unarmed protests were held in all regions of the country. Police, army and militia used tear gas, electric rods and live ammunition against the people. At least 88 sons and daughters of Syria were murdered. Regime forces prevented some of the wounded from receiving medical help. Other wounded have been arrested from their hospital beds. (Here are ugly scenes in Homs).
Damascus is under lockdown, mukhabarat clustering on every corner. Someone I know tried to cross the city today for entirely apolitical reasons. During the journey he was taken off the bus (with everyone else) and marched to a police station where he was questioned and his details recorded. But protests and gunfire still roared from the suburbs as far into the city’s heart as Meedan.
Words are one thing, actions another. The president’s words have no meaning at all.