Beirut Rally Backs Syrian Activists Call for Int'l Protection
A number of Lebanese activists, journalists, intellectuals and politicians on Thursday staged a sit-in at the Samir Qassir Square in downtown Beirut in support for “the freedom and dignity of the Syrian people.”
Simultaneously, a group of supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who belong to a number of Lebanese political parties, gathered outside the Beirut Municipality in the center of the capital, carrying Syrian flags and pictures of Assad and shouting slogans in support of the Syrian leader and his regime, state-run National News Agency reported.
Security forces deployed in the area prevented any clash between the rival rallies.
Speaking on behalf of the organizers of the pro-Syrian uprising rally, activist Saleh al-Mashnouq said: “We reject that Lebanon, the representative of Lebanese and Arabs at the U.N., be a real partner in the attack against the Syrian people.”
“Lebanon should rather be in its normal position, alongside the majority of Lebanese and Arab people who are opposed to the crimes against humanity being committed. A camp for Syrian refugees must also be set up in Lebanon, where they would feel secure and be treated according to the standards of human dignity,” Mashnouq added.
“We declare our full support for the demands of the Syrians who are seeking international protection for civilians by all means possible. We call on all the Arab leaders to take a historic decision and achieve this Syrian demand, and we also urge all human rights organizations concerned to stand by these refugees,” he went on to say.
Present at the rally were MPs Khaled al-Daher, Marwan Hamade, Ahmed Fatfat and Khaled Zahraman; ex-education minister Hassan Mneimneh; ex-MPs Fares Soaid and Elias Atallah; Democratic Renewal Movement secretary Antoine Haddad; National Bloc chief Carlos Edde; and members of the March 14 general-secretariat.