UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the ongoing violence against protesters in Syria, and called for it to stop immediately, a UN statement said Friday.
Large-scale anti-government protests erupted Friday in major Syrian cities, with protesters chanting for change and shouting anti-government slogans.
Reports said dozens of people were killed as security forces used live bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrations in some cities.
The protests came one day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad approved a decree lifting the country's state of emergency, which had been in place since 1963, and allowed peaceful demonstrations.
But the protests appeared to be growing more vehement.
"Only an inclusive dialogue and the effective implementation of reforms can address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and ensure social peace and order," Ban said.
He said there should be an independent, transparent and effective investigation into the killings. (Xinhua)