Anti-Syrian Protest in Beirut Sparked by New Arrests
More than two hundred people gathered in a Beirut park Thursday to protest the arrests of students opposed to Syria's military presence in Lebanon.
Three students -- Elsie Mouffarege, Jean Bassil, and Salim Ali Ramlawi, were arrested overnight as they put up posters on the mountain close to Beirut with names of friends who had been arrested, said supporters of exiled anti-Syrian former prime minister Michel Aoun.
The demonstrators tried to gather in Saint Nicholas garden, but were blocked by a large police presence and went instead to a nearby park.
The area was quickly surrounded by the police and army, with two fire trucks.
Local residents joined the students in singing revolutionary songs, including poems by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish set to music.
The students erected a tent and banners carrying the names of 16 students arrested since April 13.
Another banner called for the right of free speech and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 520, which calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon.
There are some 35,000 Syrian soldiers deployed with government agreement in Lebanon over three quarters of the country.
Israel has said it will pull its troops out of the 10 percent of Lebanon it occupies by July 7 -- BEIRUT (AFP).
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