Thousands of Lebanese protesters cheer as Prime Minister quits
Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri. This came following nationwide protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw thousands of troops.
"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said, according to The AP.
The announcement prompted cheers from more than 25,000 flag-waving demonstrators protesting against the government and its Syrian backers outside the parliament building. The protesters went further, immediately shouting for the resignation of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud. "Lahoud, your turn is coming!" they said.
The Syrian government, which was behind the installment of Karami in power last September said the resignation was a purely domestic affair in Lebanon.
On his part, Druze leader Walid Jumblat hailed the government's resignation. "The people have been victorious but we should now form an impartial government to supervise the elections" due by the end of May, he said.
Earlier in the day, the parliament convened to question Karami's government about the security debacle of Hariri's assassination amid opposition charges it was derailing the investigation to absolve Syria from guilt.
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