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» 02/28/2005
LEBANON - SYRIA
Syria out, say Lebanese Christians and Muslims
Religious leaders reiterate importance of intra-Lebanese dialogue and demand respect for the country's sovereignty.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – More than 100,000 people rallied today demanding the pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Many schools and businesses were shut across the country following a call for a general strike. Many of the opposition groups and young people who descended on Martyrs' Square renamed it Freedom Square.

About 500 m from there Lebanese lawmakers sat in the National Assembly building guarded by 5,000 soldiers, debating a vote of no-confidence in the pro-Syrian regime.

Bahia Hariri, the late Prime Minister's sister, who is also a member of parliament, was first to address the house. In tears, she pointed the finger at the government in her brother's death and asked that light be shed on his assassination.

Other MPs criticised the government and called for its resignation.

Speaking to AsiaNews MP Marwan Hamade, who was himself victim of an attack five months ago, said that the opposition wanted the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops and the resignation of the government.

National Assembly President Nabih Berri adjourned the session at 6:30 pm.

Whilst lawmakers debated inside, outside young protesters also demanded the government resign and chanted "Syria out" and "Freedom, sovereignty, independence".

In the crowd of Christians and Muslims, there were also some clergymen and some religious men and women.

Many demonstrators said that they would remain in the square until Lebanon regained its full sovereignty.

Religious leaders are however trying to clam the situation fearing that it might get out of hand.

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregorius III Laham have demanded respect for all citizens and emphasised the importance of dialogue.

Imam Kabalan, vice president of the Shiite Higher Islamic Council, exhorted MPs to respect the identity of Lebanon and reminded everyone of their duties as citizens. (YH)


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See also
05/26/2005 LEBANON
Maronite bishops appeal to voters: "Go and vote"
by Youssef Hourani
08/30/2004 Lebanon - syria
Patriarch Sfeir slams Syrian influence on constitutional changes
02/16/2005 LEBANON - SYRIA
A freedom-crushing regime behind Hariri's assassination, Lebanese Bishops say
09/24/2004 LEBANON - syria
It is time Syria let Lebanon be sovereign, Cardinal Sfeir says
10/21/2004 LEBANON
Friday, a new Christian-Muslim battle-line
lebanon - syria
Dozens of Lebanese political prisoners still held in Syrian jails
LEBANON
Decisive next 48 hours
LEBANON
Lebanese government dismisses UN report on Hariri killing
LEBANON
Sfeir calls for a government that would prepare the elections and work for reconciliation
LEBANON
We want a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon, says Patriarch Sfeir
Lebanon
Cardinal Sfeir: full sovereignty for Beirut, but demonstrations are worrisome
LEBANON – SYRIA
Christian-Sunni opposition rejects new pro-Syrian government
LEBANON
Opposition backed by Patriarch Sfeir meets
LEBANON - SYRIA
New government caught between opposing demonstrations
LEBANON
Lebanon has a right to sovereignty, says Patriarch Sfeir
SYRIA-LEBANON
Syria is to start redeploying its troops in Lebanon today, not to withdraw
LEBANON - SYRIA
Lebanon becomes once again a model for the Middle East
SYRIA - LEBANON
Russia and US press Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon
LEBANON
Lebanese bishops call for interim government, urge unity
LEBANON - SYRIA
People power sinks Karami government
LEBANON - SYRIA
Anti-Syrian demonstration defies government ban
LEBANON - SYRIA
Dialogue between opposition and pro-Syrian faction urgent, says Maronite Patriarch
LEBANON – SYRIA
Maronite Patriarch says Syria should withdraw in a situation of calm and dialogue
VATICAN - LEBANON
Papal telegram to Patriarch Sfeir for Rafik Hariri's death
LEBANON - USA - SYRIA
After Hariri's death, US official invites Patriarch Sfeir to the US
LEBANON - SYRIA
A freedom-crushing regime behind Hariri's assassination, Lebanese Bishops say
LEBANON - VATICAN
Patriarch and Vatican's nuncio offer their condolences to Hariri's family
LEBANON
Car bomb kills Lebanon's former Prime Minister

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pp. 176
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