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unschooler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-07-06 03:42 PM
Original message
Lebanese students hold counter-demonstration
Edited on Tue Feb-07-06 03:44 PM by unschooler

BEIRUT: A few hundred Lebanese youth gathered on Monday afternoon in front of the "Liberty Tent" at Martyrs' Square in protest against Sunday's riots, and the resulting assault on the Mar Maroun Church.

Monday's protesters, mainly composed of student members of the Lebanese Forces (LF), in addition to Future Movement and Progressive Socialist Party supporters, a few scattered independents and Phalange members, marched the few blocs from the Square to Mar Maroun Church.


Future Movement member Mohammad Halawani, 21, said the rally "is in principle a reply to what happened Sunday," in reference to a peaceful demonstration against published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that quickly turned into a violent riot targeting the Danish Consulate offices in Achrafieh.

"We denounce the riots and attacking the churches," he added. "Attacking a church is just like attacking a mosque and vice-versa."

LF supporter Elias Rizk, 21, said security personnel "are only strong when trying to contain and oppress us (Christians). Why didn't they do anything to those who caused riots Sunday?"


Independent Alaa Shoueib, from Hasbaya, said he saw some of Sunday's protesters brandishing axes and sharpened sticks in the Sanayeh area, a small distance from Achrafieh.

"Why didn't the ISF stop them, and why is it that when we stage a rally we get hindered and searched at newly erected ISF checkpoints several kilometers away from our gathering point?" he asked.

edited to correct spelling error
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-07-06 04:40 PM
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1. That's good to see. The Future Movement is a big deal.
(they are secular)

"Everyone saw what happened during the last parliamentary polls, and the level of sectarian tensions in the country. As a political movement, we don't believe in sectarianism, and this will be one of the main aspects of our work, and one of the main guidelines for us as a party."

Naqib also said the Future Movement enjoys support from various areas across Lebanon.

He said: "Some people might say the Future Movement is restricted to Sunni areas, but this is not true. We are not restricted to any sect. Maybe it is true we have a Sunni majority but we have people from various backgrounds and religious sects and this is something we are proud of. This is something the late martyr Hariri dreamt about."

Naqib said that the guidelines to the party, which are currently being prepared by a team of lawyers, will convey the message of the late premier. "Hariri believed in Lebanon as a final country for all its citizens, with an Arab identity. Democracy, liberalism, reconstruction, this was his dream for Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and this is what the Future Party will be based. This does not meet in any case with sectarianism."

Naqib added that the movement, currently opening offices in areas around Lebanon - including the Lebanese North which was a restricted area for the Hariri's work during the era of Syrian hegemony over the country - is aspiring to be one of the country's main secular political parties, in a country where politics is based on sectarianism.

He said: "We dream about competing on a political level and not a sectarian level. The poor economic situation in the country affects all sects and all religions. ... Which is why, as people, we have to unite around a common good."

They have an interesting forum:
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unschooler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-07-06 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. That's certainly encouraging. SO different from our part of the
planet. We're really lucky here that we have no 95% dominant ethnic or religious group. We have no choice but to put up with our fellow citizens!
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