Hezbollah-led rally in Beirut to support Bahrain protesters


Waving Lebanese and Bahraini flags and banners of the Shi’ite groups Hezbollah and Amal , around 2,000 mostly Shi’ite Lebanese demonstrators rallied in front of the U.N. headquarters in central Beirut on Wednesday in support of an uprising by Bahrain’s Shi’ite Muslim majority . They chanted slogans for change to sweep the Middle East.

Hezbollah which organized the rally, was supported by the Amal Movement, another Shiite party in Lebanon.

“My heart and my feelings are with the Bahraini people. I have a conscience, and my heart hurts for them,” said Raghida Nasrideen, a demonstrator from the Bekaa valley town of Baalbek, waving a Hezbollah flag.

“O people, where is your conscience? Change has to come now,” the demonstrators in Beirut chanted, as well as slogans against Israel and the United States.

Protesters wave, Lebanese, Bahraini and Hezbollah flags during a rally organized by Lebanon's Hezbollah in front of the U.N. headquarters in Beirut March 16, 2011, in support of Bahraini protesters.

“You will not snuff out our revolution. You will not thwart our commitment,” Bahraini activist Jaafar al-Alawi, said, addressing the crowd in front of the U.N. headquarters in Beirut.

Alawi, who said he had been imprisoned for 18 years in Bahrain, led the crowd in a chant of “the people want the downfall of the regime,” which has reverberated in protests across the Arab world that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Bahraini authorities imposed a curfew on Wednesday and security forces backed by helicopters cleared hundreds from a camp that had become the symbol of the protests.

Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar told the rally, that Bahrainis were calling for their rights in a civilized and peaceful manner.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized Bahrain’s crackdown on the mainly Shi’ite protesters as “unjustifiable and irreparable.”

Top Photo: A Lebanese protester carries a knife as he shouts slogans during a rally in front of the U.N. house in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, March 16, 2011, to protest what they say the U.S.-backed crackdown against the people of Bahrain. Hundreds of supporters of anti-Western groups, predominantly Shiites, waving Lebanese, Bahraini and Hezbollah flags as well as those of the Shiite Amal group of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, held a moment of silence for those killed in Bahrain.