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Middle East
Syria solidarity rally held in Beirut
Hundreds call on the Lebanese government to speak out against neighbouring Syria's bloody crackdown on protesters.
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2011 08:18


Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports from Beirut

Hundreds of people have rallied in Beirut, Lebanon's capital, in solidarity with the Syrian people, as the Syrian government intensified its crackdown on protesters.

Monday's demonstration, which included prominent Lebanese intellectuals, writers, journalists and activists, was held in the symbolic Martyr's Square to honour the estimated 2,000 Syrians who activists say have been killed by security forces since the uprising began in March.

The protesters also called on the Lebanese government to finally speak out against the bloodshed.

"No to silence," some banners read, as protesters chanted rhetoric mainly against President Bashar al-Assad.

A Lebanese activist said staging a rally was the least that could be done to show support for the Syrian people.

"This is the least we can do, we should have done more. The entire country should be participating in this demonstration. In the end, Syrians are not just our brothers, we are the same race,'' Firas Ghaleb said.

Saad Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, also urged his country on Monday to denounce the "massacre" taking place in Syria.

"Lebanon cannot dissociate itself from the open massacre taking place" in Syria, Hariri said in a statement.

He called on the new Lebanese administration of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in which the group Hezbollah - a main ally of the Syrian government - plays a key role, to dissociate itself from backing the repression in Syria.

Monday's protest came after Lebanon dissociated itself last week from a statement by the UN Security Council condemning Syria's ruling Baath party for unleashing a brutal campaign against civilians and violating human rights.

Mikati on Monday reiterated that Lebanon's position was linked to the fact that it did not wish to meddle in Syria's internal affairs.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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