Lebanon: Demonstrators outside US Embassy praise Syria and Iran

Published January 18th, 2006 - 08:23 GMT

Protesters at a pro-Syrian demonstration on Tuesday outside of Beirut praised Iran, Syrian and Iraqi fighters, as participants chanted "Death to America! USA out!"


The Hizbullah-led pro-Syrian groups denounced both Israel and the United States, while praising Iran and Syria as demonstrators gathered nearby Lebanon's US Embassy.


Zaher Al Khatib, a former Lebanese legislator, praised Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying that "Lebanon draws its strength from Syria, Iran and the resistance in Iraq."


The  protest underscored the polarization within Lebanon surrounding pro and anti-Syrian camps.
Khatib also saluted Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who recently drew widespread criticism for saying that Israel should be wiped off the map, according to <i>Naharnet</i>, <i>AFP</i>, and the </i>AP</i>.
Speakers at the demonstration expressed their opposition to U.N. Resolution 1559, which calls on Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias to disarm.


On Saturday, another anti- American demonstration attracted some 250 demonstrators who protested the arrival of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Welch.


The demonstration turned violent as protesters and security forces clashed; police used tear gas and water cannons to subdue the crowds, who reportedly threw rocks at policemen.


Lebanese security forces stood by on alert at Tuesday's demonstration, reportedly creating a human barrier that stopped protestors from approaching the embassy.


Interior Minister Hassan Sabaa had stated earlier that no force would be used so long as the protest remained peaceful.



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