Tens of thousands of supporters of Lebanon’s anti-Syrian opposition gathered in the Lebanese city of Tripoli on Sunday to denounce the regime in Damascus and its ally, the Hizbullah terror group.
According to AFP, the rally in the northern port city was organized by the Future Movement, the main opposition party headed by ex-premier Saad Hariri.
It came amid mounting tension over the possible collapse of the Lebanese government over a UN-backed tribunal that probed the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, ex-premier Rafik Hariri, and the revolt in Syria.
Last week, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose cabinet is dominated by Hizbullah and its allies, threatened to step down if the cabinet refused to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The funding will be discussed at a crucial cabinet meeting next Wednesday.
Lebanon is responsible for meeting 49 percent of the STL’s financing, some $35 million.
AFP reported that several politicians who spoke at the rally appealed to Mikati to uphold the country’s obligations concerning the STL. They also launched attacks against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
MP Marwan Hamadeh urged the Arab League to tighten the noose around “the killer in Damascus,” referring to Assad.
“The end of (the regime) in Damascus will be like that of Muammar Qaddafi, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak or Ali Abdullah Saleh,” Hamadeh was quoted as having said.
He added, “Beware Bashar, the choice is open and your fate is already decided.”
The demonstrators also carried party and Lebanese flags as well as banners that read “Bashar al-Assad, Qaddafi is waiting for you” and “Bashar al-Assad, Hassan Nasrallah, game over.”
Mikati recently announced that Lebanon will adhere to its commitment and fund the STL, which has indicted four Hizbullah operatives in connection with Hariri’s murder.
The terror group has dismissed the court as a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy and leader Nasrallah has vowed never to turn over any members of his group.