Cedar Revolution - Pro-Syrian Demonstration

Pro-Syrian Demonstration

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called for a "massive popular gathering" on March 8 supporting Syria and accusing Israel and the United States of meddling in internal affairs. Nasrallah also criticized UN Resolution 1559 saying "The resistance will not give up its arms ... because Lebanon needs the resistance to defend it", and added "all the articles of U.N. resolution give free services to the Israeli enemy who should have been made accountable for his crimes and now finds that he is being rewarded for his crimes and achieves all its demands."

This Beirut rally called by Hezbollah dwarfed the earlier anti-Syrian events; CNN noted some news agencies estimated the crowd at 200,000, the Associated Press news agency estimated that there were more than 500,000 pro-Syrian protestors, while the New York Times and Los Angeles Times simply estimated "hundreds of thousands". Al Jazeera reported a figure of 1.5 million. The predominantly Shi'ite protestors held pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and placards reading, in English, "No for the American Intervention". A couple of anti-Syrian media sources noted that it was likely that many of Lebanon's approximately 500,000 Syrian guest workers participated in the rally. In addition to demonstrating the extent of popular support for Syria in Lebanon, the demonstration reiterated Hezbollah's rejection of Resolution 1559, whose call for the disbanding of all Lebanese militias threatens the continued existence of its military wing, the force credited for the liberation of south Lebanon from Israeli occupation. Nasrallah also held demonstrations in Tripoli and Nabatiyé on 11 and 13 March.

Ten days after his resignation, Omar Karami was reappointed Prime Minister and called on the opposition to participate in government until the elections slated for April 2005.

On March 13, tens of thousands protested in the southern city of Nabatiyé in support of Syria and opposition to UNSCR 1559, according to reports. The Tripoli protests were canceled.

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