Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Somalia twin bombings kill 18 in Mogadishu

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Arming the "good guys"?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Gun Control in the United States: Will the Florida shooting be the turning point?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Giving a voice to the homeless in France

Read more

REPORTERS

'Never Again': The students pushing for US gun control

Read more

#TECH 24

A bright future for solar power

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Winter in France's Burgundy vineyards

Read more

FOCUS

How French cyber police are patrolling the 'Dark Web'

Read more

ENCORE!

Marseille mon amour: Mediterranean city celebrates love

Read more

Mass rally marks Hariri killing

Latest update : 2008-02-15

Tens of thousands of Lebanese have gathered in Beirut to mark the 3rd death anniversary of former PM Rafik Hariri. The city is under tight security after the recent assassination of a top Hezbollah leader in Syria. S. Khoury reports.

Tens of thousands of supporters of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority gathered in the rain on Beirut's Martyrs' Square Thursday to commemorate the third anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Later Thursday, supporters of the Shia group Hezbollah, aligned with the pro-Syrian minority, to pay their respects to Imad Moughnieh, who was killed in a car bombing in Syria on Tuesday.

 

The atmosphere at the Hariri commemoration was calm Thursday morning, despite tight security aimed at heading off any clashes between the pro- and anti-Syrian blocs, who have faced off repeatedly in recent weeks. 

"All is calm for the time being," reports FRANCE 24's Lynn Tehini. "The protesters have converged on Martyrs' Square on foot, in the rain, waving blue flags - the colour of Hariri's party - as well as the Lebanese flag."

 

The square has been under strict security lockdown since Wednesday night. The country has been without a president since Nov. 24, and the factions' inability to agree on a candidate has raised fears of the kind of conflict that divided the country for years during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990).

 

In the three years since Hariri's death, several Lebanese politicians, journalists and security officials have been killed in bomb attacks. The Lebanese majority has accused Syria of being behind the attacks.

 

A peaceful demonstration

 

Thursday's commemoration was organised by the anti-Syrian “March 14” alliance, which accuses Damascus of being responsible for the bombing that killed Hariri.

 

Telecommunications Minister Merwan Hamade, a member of the anti-Syrian majority, told FRANCE 24 he did not anticipate any trouble at the event. “I don’t think there will be any violence because the March 14 coalition has organised a peaceful demonstration and many families and children will be attending.” He added: “We want to show the determination of the Lebanese people to get the truth behind Hariri’s assassination and at the same time to elect a new president to get our national institutions moving again.”

 

Scarlette Hadad, a Lebanese journalist working for French-language “L’Orient le Jour”, asked why the Lebanese people must live in perpetual mourning and under the threat of fresh violence. She told FRANCE 24 the demonstration will be “important” but “sad” and she hopes it will foster solidarity among Lebanese citizens. “The majority does not want to see a return to civil war because there are certain limits that shouldn’t be broken,” she said.

 

Date created : 2008-02-14

COMMENT(S)