Syria Ends Emergency Rule; Sics Security Forces on Protesters
I suppose it's what happens when you have too many revolutions at once, localized in one region, with the United States military lobbing Tomahawk missiles into Libya: When, in the face of a growing protest movement, the Baathist dictatorship in Syria revokes 48 years (!) of emergency rule, it's doesn't merit an above-the-scroll headline on CNN.com. Bashir Assad, described perfectly by Christopher Hitchens as "the human toothbrush," promises expanded civil liberties and curbed police power, according to the New York Times, but the dictator in Damascus also wants to make clear that the "reforms" don't actually mean that Syrians will be able to challenge his authority:
Security forces made some attempts to disperse the crowds but relented until after midnight. Then, protesters said, a mix of soldiers, security forces and police officers attacked the crowd with tear gas and live ammunition after the crowds had dwindled. Videos posted on Facebook showed scenes of chaos as volleys of gunfire echoed over a square faintly lit by yellow streetlights. Mattresses were strewn across the square, where a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad superimposed on a Syrian flag read, "Yes to living together, no to strife."
"This is reform? This is reform?" asked a protester in one of the videos.
Full coverage of the protests here. BBC News reports that security forces fired upon protesters "at random" in the city of Homs.