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Syria's Cabinet resigns amid mass protests

March 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Syria's Cabinet resigned Tuesday after huge demonstrations across the country, according to state television.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-government supporters took to the streets to show their support for President Bashar Assad. Several anti-government protests sprung up across the country on Friday.

Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of overtures.

State TV reported that Assad has accepted his Cabinet's resignation and is expected to lift a nearly 50-year state of emergency and other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.

Mass protests exploded nationwide on Friday, touched off by the arrest of several teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa. Security forces launched a swift crackdown, opening fire in at least six locations around the country, including the capital, Damascus, and the country's main port of Latakia.

More than 60 people have died since March 18 as security forces cracked down on protesters, Human Rights Watch said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.