In the latest tit-for-tat demo in Beirut 800,000 protesters took to the streets. This one marked the first month since the murder of the founding father of post-war Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri.
It was less political than previous marches: Sunnis and Shia’a, who had stayed away from opposition demos, joined in.
This makes it the largest demo in Lebanon’s history, and a remarkable feat for a country of 3.5 million.
Meanwhile Patriarch Nasrallah Sfier (below) – leader of the Christians – called for dialogue not more protests. He called for Lebanon to move forward not stand still, echoing fears that the country’s politics is in paralysis until May’s elections.
On the troop front, 4000 of the 14000 Syrian soldiers have left Lebanon. But more importantly, mukhabaraat officers evacuated two intelligence positions in the North, as well as the intelligence headquarters in Beirut. That’s a huge step. Until now Syria had denied that it even had intelligence in Lebanon.
Meanwhile Bush has been making concilliatory noises towards Hizbollah. For the US refused to deal with them – calling them terrorists at the request of Israel (Hizbollah forced Israel out of their 20 year occupation of Lebanon, inflicting the only defeat in Israel’s history). But they got half a million people on to Beirut’s streets: majority rule = democracy.