Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Pro-Syrian rally a hoax.

An estimated 400,000 "Lebanese" jammed the streets in an apparent pro-Syria rally. It was cast as Hezbollah's influence on the Lebanon and was even given some undue legitimacy when Kofi Annan marked the rally as a sign that Hezbollah should be recognized as a legitimate political power, despite their being naughty jihadi's.

JERUSALEM – The giant Hezbollah rally that drew nearly half a million purported supporters of Syria's occupation of Lebanon actually was a staged hoax with non-Lebanese citizens, Syrian workers, students and municipal employees coerced into joining the protest, former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview this morning.

"Yesterday's huge protest calling for Syria to stay made it look to the world like a large segment of the Lebanese population actually wants to live under Syrian occupation," said Aoun, speaking to WND from Paris. "But the protest wasn't what it appeared to be. It was an elaborately staged affair."

Hundreds of thousands packed into a central Beirut meeting square yesterday, chanting support for Syrian troops to maintain positions in Lebanon and denouncing America in what has been called a massive show of strength by Syrian and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Protestors held signs, in English, reading "Thank you Syria'' and "No to foreign interference," a reference to American intervention. The crowd sang the national anthem and many waved red-and-white Lebanese flags, some holding posters with pictures of pro-Damascus Lebanese and Syrian presidents.

Attendance at the rally greatly outnumbered recent demonstrations led by opposition figures against Syria's presence in Lebanon and was billed by Hezbollah speakers as a sign Syria enjoys popular support among the people of Lebanon and should therefore keep their nearly 20,000 troops inside the country. Damascus has been under daily fire from the U.S., Europe and many Arab countries demanding an end to its occupation of Lebanon.

But Aoun told WND Hezbollah and Syrian officials used deceptive and coercive techniques to orchestrate the protest.

"This was not a Lebanese showing, and many of those who actually were Lebanese were not there because they support Syria. We know that at least three Palestinian camps were present. And there are 700,000 Syrian workers inside Lebanon, many of whom are not even supposed to be there. They were urged by Syria to attend so it looks like many Lebanese are protesting. Plus Syria bused in their own citizens from Syria through the border into Lebanon to join the rally."
I think it's reasonable to think that if a country comprised of at least 700,000 Syrian workers, students and agents is given the day off, that they could cram a couple hundred thousand into the streets as a rebuttal to the anti-Syrian rally just a couple days before. It becomes even more reasonable when a country who trades in duress and pressure as Syria does, may have given them a little incentive to rally - like allowing them to remain alive or without physical pain.

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