Syria Emergency Law Lifted But Protest Continues (Advanced News Lesson)

With Answers! | Download Free Advanced Syria News Lesson plan here: Syria-Emergency-Law-UppInt-20042011.doc

News Lesson Plan: Warm-up

1)    Have you ever been involved in a protest?
2)    Do you think citizens have a right to protest? If so, what kind of protest is okay?
3)    Have there been any major protests in your area?
4)    Have you been following the news from Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya?

Syrian Emergency Law Lifted But Protest Continues (April 20th, 2011)

The government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad has met a demand of anti-government protesters by repealing a 48-year-old emergency law that allowed the government to make questionable arrests and override constitutional and legal regulations. The law also barred people who had been arrested but not charged with anything from filing court complaints or from having a lawyer present during questioning.

Authorities also are warning against any further demonstrations. Syrian security forces earlier fired on protesters in the city of Homs for the second night in a row. A number of protesters were killed or wounded.
Thousands of protesters had gathered in the square Monday after the funeral service at Homs' main mosque for victims of shootings a day earlier. Organizers of the sit-in insisted they would not leave the square until their demands for reform were met. Witnesses say that security forces cleared the square by early Tuesday. Syrian opposition activists are calling for more protests on Friday.
A Syrian Interior Ministry spokesman asserted that the protests are part of an armed rebellion being instigated by Islamic fundamentalists called Salafists. He called on citizens to report alleged Salafist activity and said the government would not tolerate their violent rebellion.
Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, believes the protests will continue in Syria, but does not think the regime is in imminent danger of falling. He says Syria does not strike him as a country that lends itself to a successful revolution. He notes though that Syria has had numerous military coups in its history and he believes the country may eventually see another one. (269 words)
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News Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

1)    What did the old emergency law permit? What did it not permit?
2)    True or False: Syrian activists plan to continue protesting.
3)    Who are the Salafists according to government officials?
4)    Does Hilal Khashan believe the government fall soon?
1 - It permitted the government to make questionable arrests and override constitutional and legal regulations. It did not permit people who had been arrested but not charged with anything from filing court complaints or from having a lawyer present during questioning.
2 - True
3 - They are a group of Islamic fundamentalists.
4 - No. He does not believe the government is in immediate danger of falling. However, he does state that there is an eventual possibility of a coup in the future.

News Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
  • repeal - cancel, nullify
  • bar - prohibit, ban.
  • sit-in - seated demonstration
  • assert - declare
  • instigate - encourage, incite, provoke
  • fundamentalist - strict follower of a religion
  • alleged - supposed, claimed
  • imminent - impending, approaching
  • coup - overhthrow, takeover

News Lesson Plan : Master the Language

1) Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.
athlete / bar / steroids
sit-in / plan
assert / innocent
alleged / criminal
imminent / danger
fundamentalist / instigate / coup
Possible Answers:
  • The protesters have planned another sit-in for Friday.
  • The man asserted that he was innocent.
  • The alleged criminal was taken to jail.
  • There is no imminent danger of an earthquake in Switzerland.
  • The fundamentalists plan to instigate a coup.
2) Idiom Focus
to strike <someone> as <something>
to give someone a particular impression or feeling
Syria does not strike the teacher as a country where revolution can be successful.
Read and complete the below sentences where necessary.

strikes me as a country where human rights are strictly protected.

Barack Obama strikes me as a man who  .

Possible answers
  • Sweden strikes me as a country where...
  • ... a man who chooses his words wisely.
to lend itself to <something>
to be suitable for something; to be good for a particular use
The country does not lend itself to a successful revolution.
Read and complete the below sentences where necessary.
His voice doesn't lend itself (well) to classical music singing.

This area of land lends itself to .

Her poor English ability doesn't lend itself to .

Possible answers
  • lend itself to farming and raising animals.
  • ... lend itself to public speaking

News Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).

1)    Why do you think Syria had a 48-year emergency law?
2)    Are there any unjust laws in your country?
3)    What is the most effective way to protest a government?
4)    Do you believe the right of assembly (the right to gather to protest) is a universal right?
5)    Are coups sometimes justified?
6)    Are you optimistic about the future of Syria?
7)    Can strongly religious states be democratic?



News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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