Lebanon: Anger brews as tens of thousands pay respect to murdered political leader
Tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens gathered on Wednesday in Beirut to pay respects to Gebran Tueni, a prominent outspoken anti-Syrian lawmaker and journalist who was killed in a car bomb on Monday.
Both Christians and Muslims expressed their anger towards those responsible for the murder of the Lebanese MP, waving nationalistic banners and signs at Tueni's funeral march.
Ghenwa Jalloul, a Lebanese legislator and colleague of Tueni, told reporters, "Everyone who takes to the street is saying 'enough killing."'
In preparation for the march, hundreds of Lebanese security forces lined Beirut's streets.
Tueni's allies in the March 14 Movement, also known as the Cedar Revolution which called for the withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, called for a general strike and a mass demonstration Wednesday to bid farewell to Tueni.
According to the AP, the general strike was upheld by most schools, banks and businesses.
The assassination was the fourth such death of Lebanese political figures who were outspoken in their anti-Syrian stand; former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a similar attack on February 14.
Many have suspected Syria as being behind the attack. Subsequent outrage in Lebanon is thought to have spurred the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon after some 30 years of occupation.
A UN report released Monday implicates Syria in Hariri's death. The investigation is currently continuing to find all those responsible.
Two other prominent opposition journalists and columnists have also been targeted by bombings. Despite investigations, however, authorities have made no arrests.
The deaths have led many to wonder who may be next on the list of targeted politicians. Druze leader Walid Jumblat implied on Lebanese television on Tuesday that he may be at risk for assassination.
"Anyone who dares to say 'no' to the mafia-style Lebanese-Syrian regime is liquidated," he said.
Referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Jumblat added, "This sick man in Damascus has to be held accountable for his acts."
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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