Tens of thousands of supporters of Lebanon's majority "March 14" camp gathered in Beirut on Sunday for a rally marking the fifth anniversary of the slaying of former premier Rafiq Hariri.
"Five years ago, you came down to this very square to demand justice and freedom... and we are not turning back," Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain premier, told the cheering crowd in downtown Beirut.
Rafiq Hariri's assassination in a massive car bombing on February 14, 2005, that also killed 22 other people, saw the rise of the alliance that became known as March 14.
It was named after a day of massive protests dubbed the "Cedar Revolution."
Combined with international pressure, the protests led to the pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005 after a 29-year presence.
Saad Hariri, who heads March 14, has two parliamentary election wins under his belt and now leads a unity government which includes Hezbollah.
Addressing the commemoration on Sunday, the prime minister said his visit to Damascus was part of inter-Arab reconciliation efforts launched by Saudi King Abdullah, who preceded him to the Syrian capital.
"My visit to Syria was part of that initiative," Hariri said, prompting jeers from the crowd in downtown Beirut. "I am keen on launching a new phase of ties between Lebanon and Syria as two sovereign, independent countries."
An international tribunal was set up by a Security Council resolution in 2007 to try suspects in the Hariri murder, as well as the killings of seven other prominent anti-Syrian figures in a chain of subsequent assassinations.
A UN commission of inquiry initially said it had found evidence to implicate Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services but there are no suspects in custody. Damascus has denied any involvement.
agenciesLast Mod: 14 Şubat 2010, 18:39