Syria says it will consider lifting emergency law


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Syrian government said it would consider abolishing a more than 40-year-old emergency law following the deaths of anti-government protesters.

Thursday’s announcement by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s media adviser during a televised news conference came after at least 10 protesters in the southern city of Deraa were killed Wednesday in clashes with soldiers. The government said 10 protesters were killed, while other reports put the number at dozens.

The emergency law, put in place in 1963, suspends most constitutional rights.

Assad’s spokesman said the president did not order soldiers to fire at the protesters. She also said that the Syrian people’s demands were just.

"There are some demands and we will respond to these demands. Some of it will be very quickly. Some of it might take time and discussions," the adviser said. "If there is a legitimate demand by the people, then the authorities will take it seriously. But if somebody just wants to cause trouble, then it is a different story."

Protests began in Syria on March 15 and follow uprisings in several countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain.

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