DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria's government passed a bill on Tuesday lifting emergency law after nearly half a century but adopted new legislation to "regulate the right of peaceful protest," the state news agency said.
A senior lawyer said President Bashar al-Assad has to sign the legislation for it to take effect but that his signature was a formality.
The official agency said the cabinet, which has little power and rubber-stamps Assad's orders, also passed a law to abolish a special security court that human rights lawyers says violates the rule of law and the universal right to fair trial.
The changes were a response to weeks of protests, inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, demanding greater freedom and, more recently, an end to Assad's 11-year rule.
Demonstrations have continued in several cities despite a series of announcements of political concessions by the president, who took over from his late father, Hafez al-Assad, in 2000.
(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Jon Boyle and Paul Taylor)