Thousands of people took part in a rally organized by the Future Movement in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli to honor Lebanese politicians assassinated in the past few years as well as to voice support for Arab uprisings.
The event entitled, “The Fall of Arms…Spring of Independence,” was organized to mark Lebanon’s 68th Independence Anniversary.
“Crowds gathered at the Rachid Karami International Stadium in Tripoli. The roads were packed with cars and the participants were transported by buses to the venue,” National News Agency reported.
The NNA also said that the demonstrators held flags of Lebanon, the Future Movement as well as posters of the party’s leader, former PM Saad Hariri.
Future bloc MPs delivered speeches reiterating commitment to the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon and demanding an end to the use of non-state weapons.
Siniora recites Hariri’s speech
Former Lebanese PM and current Future Movement bloc chief Fouad Siniora reciting former PM Saad Hariri’s speech at the rally . He asked :” Why Tripoli? Because it is the city of dignity, the city of independence and heroes and the city of martyrdom. ”
Commenting on the uprising in neighboring Syria he said : “The Syrian people are the ones to lead the change in Syria and they don’t need anyone to show them the way. But we tell them that our hearts are with them and that we are watching them as they make history. ”
Commenting on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) and the controversy surrounding its financing he said:
“Financing the STL is a duty and not some kind of generosity from anyone, because people want the tribunal, justice and the handing over of the accused. People want to support the aggrieved, so implement what the people are demanding you to do.”
He added: “Our support for the tribunal is not because of vengeance, but because of justice. The choice is clear: you either side with the martyrs or with the criminals. The people want to know the truth and try the killers. ”
He called for building a “strong state… not statelets,” in reference to Hezbollah.
End of a nightmare
March 14 MP Boutros Harb also addressed the parade on Sunday and said that a possible collapse of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government would be the “end of a nightmare” in Lebanon.
“This is the government that sponsors non-state arms and its collapse would bring an end to the nightmare,” Harb said
He added that the use of non-state weapons “generates violence and destroys Lebanon.”
The MP also said that Mikati’s cabinet “distorts Lebanon’s image and has failed to make [any achievement].”
Don’t imprison Lebanon
March 14 MP Marwan Hamadeh also addressed the Future Movement rally. He caled on President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri “not to imprison Lebanon.”
“I tell [Suleiman, Mikati and Berri], do not imprison Lebanon while the rest of the Arab world is getting out of it,” Hamadeh said in a reference to the pro-democracy protests in Arab countries that toppled several autocratic rulers.
Regarding the uprising in Syria, the MP called on the Arab League to “surround the murderer in Damascus,” a reference to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hamadeh also slammed Hezbollah and its Christian ally, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, describing them as “those who have staged a coup against the constitution.”
The current Lebanese government is dominated by the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, who are insisting that the country cease all cooperation with STL.
Last week, PM Najib Mikati made it very clear that he will resign if the cabinet fails to secure funding for the tribunal.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was created by the United Nations Security Council in 2007 , at the request of the Government of Lebanon to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
On January 12, 2011 Hezbollah and allies with the help of the Shiite minister in the cabinet that represented president Michel Suleiman overthrew the government of former PM Saad Hariri over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) imminent indictment.
STL issued the indictments and arrest warrants on June 30. Two of the suspects Badreddine and Ayyash are reportedly senior members of Hezbollah and played leading roles in the assassination while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.” Nasrallah said following the announcement of the indictments.
It appears now that STL could also result in the fall of the current government which is headed by PM Nagib Mikati.
STL has charged four Hezbollah operatives in connection with the assassination.
Lebanon should contribute 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding but so far has not contributed anything in 2011 fiscal year