Syrian cabinet resigns amid unrest | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 30, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 30, 2011

Syrian cabinet resigns amid unrest


Muhammad Naji Otari

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accepted his government's resignation yesterday after nearly two weeks of pro-democracy unrest that has posed the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule.
But the move was unlikely to satisfy protester demands since the cabinet has little authority in Syria, where power is concentrated in the hands of Assad, his family and the security apparatus.
Tens of thousands of Syrians held pro-government rallies yesterday, awaiting a speech in which Assad was expected to announce a decision on lifting emergency laws that have served to crush dissent for almost 50 years.
That is a key demand of anti-government demonstrations in which more than 60 people have been killed.
"President Assad accepts the government's resignation," the state news agency SANA said, adding that Naji al-Otari, the prime minister since 2003, would remain caretaker until a new government was formed.
Protesters at first had limited their demands to greater freedoms. But, increasingly incensed by a security crackdown on them, especially in the southern city of Deraa where protests first erupted, they now call for the "downfall of the regime."
Syrian state television showed people in the Syrian capital Damascus and in Aleppo, Hama and Hasaka waving the national flag, pictures of Assad and chanting "God, Syria, Bashar."
Employees and members of unions controlled by Assad's Baath Party, which has been in power since a 1963 coup, said they had been ordered to attend the rallies, where there was a heavy presence of security police.
All gatherings and demonstrations not sponsored by the state are banned in Syria, a country of 22 million at the sensitive heart of generations of Middle East conflict.
Vice President Farouq al-Shara said on Monday the 45-year-old president would give a speech in the next 48 hours that would "assure the people."
Last week Assad made a pledge to look into ending emergency laws, consider drafting laws on greater political and media freedom, and raise living standards. But the increasingly emboldened protesters have not been mollified.
However Syrian officials, civic rights activists and diplomats doubt that Assad, who contained a Kurdish uprising in the north in 2004, would completely abolish emergency laws without replacing them with similar legislation.

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222


Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News

Top