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New Syria Protests Called For April 1

A TV grab shows President Bashar Al-Assad addressing the nation on March 30.
Protesters have called for more rallies across Syria on April 1 to demand political reform. The call came after President Bashar al-Assad, in a much-anticipated speech on March 30, blamed Syria’s "enemies" for the recent unrest.

In his speech, Assad failed to announce an end to nearly five decades of emergency rule, one of the key demands of the protesters.

Instead, the state-run news agency, SANA, today said a commission had been formed to "study" replacing the emergency rule with new legislation on national security and counter-terrorism.

Activists say dozens of people have been killed in clashes with security forces since the protests began two weeks ago, mainly in Daraa, south of the capital, and in the port city of Latakia.

compiled from agency reports