Cedar Revolution - Government Resignation

Government Resignation

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Daily protests against the Syrian occupation attracted 25,000 people. While in the 1990s most anti-Syrian demonstrations were predominantly Christian and were put down by force, the new demonstrations were distinctly non-sectarian and the government did not respond with force or intimidation.

On February 28 the government of pro-Syrian prime minister Omar Karami resigned, calling for a new election to take place. Karami said in his announcement: "I am keen the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country". The tens of thousands gathered at Beirut's Martyrs' Square cheered the announcement, then chanted "Karami has fallen, your turn will come, Lahoud, and yours, Bashar".

Opposition MPs were not satisfied with only Karami's resignation, and kept pressing for full Syrian withdrawal. Former minister and MP Marwan Hamadeh, who survived a similar car bomb attack on October 1, 2004, said "I accuse this government of incitement, negligence and shortcomings at the least, and of covering up its planning at the most... if not executing".

On March 23, Michel Abu Arraj, the Lebanese magistrate responsible for the internal Lebanese investigation of the assassination asked to be excused, citing a heavy court schedule. The Judicial Council of Lebanon is expected to rule on his request shortly. His resignation and the consequent need to replace him may result in a delay in the investigation.

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