Shi’ite pro-Syria protest dwarfs earlier Maronite Christian anti-Syria protests. From Reuters, with thanks to JS:
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving Lebanese flooded central Beirut Tuesday for a pro-Syrian rally called by Hizbollah militant group that dwarfed previous protests demanding that Syrian troops quit Lebanon.
Hizbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah urged the Lebanese opposition to join a national unity government and reject a U.N. demand for the Syrians to leave and his own militia to disarm.
“We call … for the formation of a government of national unity and we ask the opposition to join it,” he told the rally.
Nasrallah said no one in Lebanon feared the United States, whose troops left Beirut in 1984, a few months after a suicide bomber killed 241 Marines at their headquarters in the capital.
“We have defeated them in the past and if they come again we will defeat them again,” he said, drawing chants of “Death to America” from the sea of demonstrators….
The huge Hizbollah rally was the first major show of popular support for Syria in Beirut since the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri touched off daily anti-Syrian protests, mainly involving Maronite Christians.