Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lebanon: This is going to be interesting tomorrow.

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Syrian-backed government has banned protests planned for Monday but a leading opposition figure vows demonstrations over the assassination of the country's former prime minister will go ahead regardless. Government and pro-Syrian loyalists also planned a demonstration in central Beirut. Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday "to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday". Opposition groups have called a protest at the central Martyrs Square by the grave of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri and a one-day strike to coincide with a parliamentary debate on a February 14 killing that for many recalled Lebanon's bitter 1975-90 civil war. Opposition deputies and many ordinary Lebanese have held Syria and the Lebanese authorities either directly or indirectly responsible for Hariri's death along with 17 other people in a car bombing. Damascus denies any role and has described Hariri's killing as terrorism. "

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