A general strike called in mourning for Tueni was widely respected on Wednesday, with banks, businesses and schools closing their doors for the day.

Ghinwa Jallul, a legislator colleague of Tueni, said: "Everyone who takes to the street is saying 'enough killing'."

Tueni was killed by a car bomb on Monday as he was being driven to work through an industrial suburb of Beirut.

He was the fourth anti-Syrian figure to be killed since the series of bombings began in February with the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

A previously unknown group has claimed responsibility for the blast that killed Tueni, two bodyguards and wounded 30 other people.

Syria blamed

But Tueni's colleagues and political allies have blamed Syria, which has denied involvement.

In the Beirut district of al-Ashrafia, which Tueni represented in parliament, several thousand people marched behind his coffin and those of his bodyguards, wrapped in the national flag of Lebanon.

Some mourners held up placards,
others carried olive branches

Some marchers carried olive branches, expressing a yearning for peace in their country.

The pall bearers rocked the coffin, a traditional sign of deep grief, as they walked slowly along several kilometres of streets lined with mourners. The procession passed through Jebran Tueni Square, named after his grandfather who founded Al-Nahar in 1933.

Some people lit fireworks, others applauded as the marchers passed.

At Al-Nahar's offices in the city centre, a giant portrait of Tueni hung down the side of the building.

Men, women and children - families and political activists - waved Lebanese flags and held Tueni's picture.

 

Many shouted slogans against Syria and its President Bashar al-Assad.

Opponents' tributes

 

In a special session of parliament, tributes came even from Tueni's political opponents.

 

"The glory is yours," said Speaker Nabih Berri, who recalled the editor as a person "fond of arguing".

Jebran Tueni was a harsh critic of
Syrian influence over Lebanon

The leader of the Hizb Allah bloc, Muhammad Raad, said Tueni was a man of "courageous word and uncompromising position".

A legislator ally of Tueni, Akram Shihayib, told the assembly: "The equation is clear. He who gives orders is in Damascus. The executioner is here in Beirut."

The strike that anti-Syrian groups had called in mourning for Tueni was observed not only in Beirut, but also in the southern provincial capital of Sidon and in the mountains of central Lebanon.

However, in eastern Lebanon, where pro-Syrian groups are dominant, the strike call was ignored.

The opponents of Syrian influence in Lebanon are counting on the public anger over Tueni's killing to flex their muscles and close ranks in the face of what they see as a Syrian threat to kill their leaders one by one.

Change of government

Druze MP Walid Jumblatt called on Tuesday for the Syrian government to be changed. "This time this regime should change (and) should be tried," Jumblatt told CNN in the first such call by a prominent Lebanese politician.

 

"This guy in Damascus (President Bashar al-Assad) is sick. If he stays, we won't have stability in the Middle East."

 

But Jumblatt later toned down his remarks, telling Lebanon's LBC television: "I do not interfere in the affairs of that regime."


Siham Tueini, widow of Jebran
Tueini, weeps on son's shoulder

The strike in Beirut came a day after the UN Security Council heard the chief UN investigator into the al-Hariri assassination say the latest evidence strengthened his conviction that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials were implicated.

Syria has denied involvement in al-Hariri's killing.

France circulated a resolution in the Security Council that would broaden the scope of the UN investigation to include all the attacks in Lebanon since 1 October 2004.

Co-sponsored by Britain and the US, the draft resolution seemed to deflect the Lebanese government's request for an inquiry into Tueni's killing and an international tribunal for the suspected killers of al-Hariri.

If passed, the resolution would ask Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, to consult Lebanon on "the nature and scope" of the needed assistance and report back.