Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL A DEMO

A huge number of demonstrators have assembled in Beirut to mark the anniversary of Prime Minister Hariri's assassination. From Beirut Spring:
Forget the pessimists. Today, we broke the record.

I woke up in the morning to watch T.V, and I was surprised to see the huge amount of people flocking down to martyr square in Beirut to mark one year of the Assassination of ex Prime Minister Rafic al Hariri. Let me put it this way: I come for Tripoli, and except for my old Grandmother and my pregnant sister, every single person I know has gone to the demo.

The problem is, the internet surfers are significantly under-informed about the scale of today’s demo. To people with satellite TV, it’s a completely different story. Aljazeera, for its now well known agenda, doesn’t even mention the demo on its webpage (11:00 GMT). Lebanese bloggers are not writing much because they left their pcs and joined. Worldwide media are not posting aerial pics. But the fact of the matter is, the people who came down to February 14, 2006, seem to outnumber those who came on March 14, 2005, considered back then to be Lebanon’s largest ever demo.

The event is unfolding and eventually better pictures will make their way to the net, but trust me on this one: if you had a TV, you would have been amazed.
Naharnet Newsdesk is reporting a million protesters, although I've yet to see this confirmed elsewhere. Lebanese Political Journal has further analysis on those present and notable absentees from the rally.

Naharnet have published excerpts from the speeches of Future Movement leader Saad Hariri, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. Here's a taster:

Jumblat:
We came to tell you rulers of Damascus, you tyrants and your allies that we are not a passing minority or an imaginary majority…We came to say that if forgetting is impossible then forgiving is impossible and impossible and impossible.
...
We say to the terrorist tyrant Bashar Assad that the Lebanese are free men. We say to him he can take back his agent Emile Lahoud.
...
Their regime represents a passing criminal minority who rule over an oppressed and imprisoned majority.
Hariri:
Brothers in the nation. Brothers in freedom. Lebanon is more important than all of us and Lebanon's unity is more precious than any party and any sect. Our party is the party of 'Lebanon First'.
...
We meet here today to allow Lebanon to be first. We form one rank facing those aggressing Lebanon's sovereignty. We are one will defending Lebanon's independence. We are the heart of Lebanon, one heart facing those planning to incite strife in Lebanon.
...
We said and we repeat here in Freedom Square, Rafik Hariri's Square, the March 14 Square that there are no Muslims and no Christians, but only Lebanese who are shouting: Lebanon First.
And Geagea:
They thought that by killing one of our great men they would stifle our spirit. We came to tell them…we are here, we have always been here and we will remain and the powers of hell will not defeat us.
...
The quest for justice, truth and freedom has started and we will not let anything stand in its way.
From Beirut to the Beltway published these pictures earlier today:


Amazing.

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