Skip to comments.800,000 Pack Beirut For Opposition Rally (Anti-Syrian Protests)
Posted on 03/14/2005 7:14:22 AM PST by MisterRepublican
An emboldened Lebanese opposition mobilized more than 800,000 people to demand an end to Syrian military domination of Lebanon, hurling a potent challenge to the Syrian-backed government here.
Beirut city official Mounib Nassereddine said the estimate of 800,000 did did not include demonstrators who were still arriving from all parts of the country ahead of the rally.
Thousands of Lebanese had made their way throughout the morning to the capital by car, bus and boat, heading for Martyrs Square and the grave of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, assassinated exactly one month ago in a bomb blast.
Lebanese television aired spectacular pictures of a massive throng in the square, showing thousands of demonstrators waving the red, white and green Lebanese flag in bright sunshine against the deep blue of the Mediterranean in the background.
Nassereddine said Monday's gathering was "at least two and a half times" larger than last Tuesday's turnout called by pro-Syrian Lebanese parties, notably the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah. AFP correspondents estimated the crowd last week at 400,000.
"Hezbollah organized a giant demonstration last Tuesday to intimidate us," said Nada, 35, as she travelled to Beirut from Zahle in the east.
"Today we're taking up the challenge and invite it to join us because we represent the true majority of the country."
Added Anwar: "The Syrian people are our brothers. We have ties that go back centuries but the Syrian army and the mukhabarat (intellence service) are no longer welcome in Lebanon."
Huguette Yamine, a 57, said Monday's poltical demonstration was her first.
"I came with 10 family members. We walked here all the way from the other side of Beirut. We've had enough. I want my children to live in a free and democratic Lebanon."
(Excerpt) Read more at sg.news.yahoo.com ...
Next week, Hezbollah will have to start bussing in pro-Syrian demonstrators from Iran (if they can get across Iraq).
"(if they can get across Iraq)."
Lets hope they try.
This is funny. God-speed to the pro-freedom faction!
I just want to know where they are going to park all of those cars.
Good for the Lebanese.
This should shut up the MSM who were sooo happy concerning the Hizballah march last week.
I still haven't heard a peep on Fox News...
They were all over the Hezbollah protest.
Good day to be a Beirut falafel vendor.
Now that's one-up-manship.
This may be a record Freep.
These people are fearless!!!
From what I've read and heard, the Hezbollah rally was arranged by this armed group and consisted primarily of Syrians and those Lebanese that have been intimidated by them.
The real question is, can the Lebanese milatary and police neutralize Hezbollah.
I think a lot of these news reports are missing the point (as usual). The numbers, 800,000 anti-Syrians this week, 400,000 pro-Syrians last week, aren't that important. What does matter is that here we have a middle eastern country engaging in peaceful political protest. Such demonstrations were a rarity, to say the least, during the Clinton years.
The President has been affirming his belief that within all human beings there is a general yearning to be free. It has been through his policies that the world finally can see this truth, in the world's most troubled region no less. Once again the world's anti-democratic, neo-marxist forces have been rebuffed, this time by the people of Lebanon, and the absolute (not subjective, ABSOLUTE) truth that freedom is the birthright of each of every human being has been proven....absolutely.
Hmmm...didn't mean to rant so much. Ah well.
And Happy St. Patrick's Week! (cuz one day of binge drinking is never enough!)
"Just picture 2 billion Chinese willing to stand up to their captors"
Well, I can think of one anyway...
Without the threat of force, a tyrant loses his second greatest weapon. His first weapon, of course, is fear. The Lebanese no longer fear Syria, and they know that 'Hama rules' are no longer in effect. Assad may be incompetent, but not nearly so that he'd start shelling unarmed protesters in the streets while half the U.S. military is parked in his backyard.
Syria can't strike back, so they're stuck trying to out protest the protester with their goon squads shoring up the numbers. That's a clumsy move that is already backfiring. Then again, Syria's been on a roll, as far as clumsy moves go. They may already be past the point of no return, especially if the internal powers in the military and security apparatus turn on Assad.
Regarding your comment about bussing in pro-Syrian demonstrators from out of the country:
Speculation is that many of the Hezbollah demonstrators were culled from the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab "refugees" who live in Lebanon and the 1.4-2 million(!) illegal Syrians who live in Lebanon and work for wages significantly less than those earned by Lebanese.
That's why organizers of this demonstration are making comments about how today's demonstrators are really Lebanese.
It'll be 1,000,000 pro Syrian ones next week....
That 'armed force' knows that it's being watched. They're helpless. If they start a Tiananmen style massacre, Syria will be more isolated than North Korea, diplomatically.
Can you imagine the headline 'Peaceful protesters hit with artillery and tanks; thousands killed' accompanied by a few pictures of dead women still clutching their Lebanese flags?
Assad would wind up as roomates with either Saddam or bin Laden, assuming the JDAMs didn't find him first.
Tune in next week for the Anti-Anti-Anti-Syrian demonstrations.......
What? No pics of hot Lebanese protester babes?