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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-322711 Lebanon Scene (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=2/21/2005

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE= LEBANON SCENE(L-O)

NUMBER=2-322711

BYLINE= EDWARD YERANIAN

DATELINE=HARARE

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

///EDS: This is a sidebar/color piece to Greg LaMotte's piece filed from Cairo///

HEADLINE: Beirut Protesters Demand Syria Remove Troops

INTRO: Thousands of Lebanese brandishing red banners, flags, and pictures of slain Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri congregated in a mass demonstration, next to the spot where Mr. Hariri died in a massive car bomb explosion, exactly one week ago. Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Beirut.

///SFX: LEBANESE NATIONAL ANTHEM. EST AND FADE UNDER///

TEXT: Loudspeakers played Lebanon's national anthem, as demonstrators broke a minute of silence to honor the memory of the country's slain former Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri.

Opposition politicians and Mr. Hariri's family called for the demonstration to demand the resignation of the current Lebanese government and the installation of an interim, national unity coalition.

///SFX: VOICES OF YOUNG PEOPLE PROTESTING. EST AND FADE UNDER.///

Thousands of young people marched from the scene of last week's car bomb explosion that killed Mr. Hariri to the Beirut's Martyrs Square, where he was buried, chanting "freedom, sovereignty and independence."

One of the principal demands of Lebanon's escalating opposition movement is that neighboring Syria remove its troops from their country. Syria, which first dispatched troops to Lebanon in 1976, shortly after the outbreak of the country's civil war, still maintains 14,000 troops, there, dominating much of Lebanon' political life.

///SFX: HARIRI'S FORMER FINANCE MINISTER DELIVERING EULOGY. EST AND FADE UNDER.///

A top aide to the slain former prime minister, surrounded by opposition politicians and Mr. Hariri's family, delivered a eulogy to the much-loved former leader, surrounded by thousands of mourners lining Beirut's Martyrs Square. Church bells also tolled and mosque loudspeakers broadcast verses from the Koran across most of Beirut, as part of the demonstration.

Earlier today, the Lebanese parliament agreed to a demand by opposition deputies that the body formally debate the assassination of Mr. Hariri. (SIGNED)

NEB/MEM



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