Assad reforms fail to stop Syrian protests

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The Independent Online

Thousands of students held demonstrations against Syria's authoritarian regime yesterday, brushing off President Bashar al-Assad's sweeping declarations of reform as the growing protest movement vowed to stage the biggest rallies to date tomorrow.

The month-long uprising has posed the biggest challenge to the 40-year ruling dynasty of President Assad and his father before him. On Tuesday, Syria scrapped 50 years of emergency rule – but emboldened and defiant crowds accused Mr Assad of simply trying to buy time while he clings to power. "We are preparing for a huge demonstration on Friday," said an activist in the southern city of Daraa, where anti-government protests first erupted last month and later spread nationwide.

At least 200 people have been killed since the government cracked down on protesters.