Naharnet

March 14 Officials Lay Wreaths at Graves of Cedar Revolution Martyrs

Delegations from the March 14 opposition coalition visited on Thursday the gravesites of the martyrs of Lebanon's Cedar Revolution on the 8th anniversary of the movement.

Officials from the alliance laid flowers at their graves in different areas in Lebanon.

Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch chief Wissam al-Hassan was the latest of some dozen anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians and members of the security to be killed since Feb. 2005 when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a truck bomb at Beirut's sea front.

Hariri's assassination led to the rise of the Cedar Revolution or Independence Intifada and the establishment of the March 14 movement that organized a chain of demonstrations that ultimately led to the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon following a nearly three-decade hegemony.

Thursday's event was culminated by a gathering near Hariri's grave at Mohammed al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut at 3:30 pm.

“The Lebanese must declare that they are with Lebanon's freedom and coexistence,” ex-PM Fouad Saniora, head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, said after visiting Hariri's tomb with a March 14 delegation.

“March 14's idea is a noble idea and anyone who believes in it belongs to March 14,” said Saniora.

Asked about the controversial electoral law propose by the Orthodox Gathering, under which each sect would elect its own MPs, Saniora replied: “We're proud, like many Lebanese who belong to March 14 and other groups, that we are against the Orthodox Gathering law and with the formula of coexistence.”

“The concept of the Orthodox Gathering law would pave the ground for partitioning the country and we are united in rejecting it and holding onto the Taef Accord,” the ex-PM added.

He noted that efforts are being exerted “on many levels,” hoping “the wish of the Lebanese will be fulfilled by holding the elections.”

“We hope the efforts will lead to a consensual solution concerning the elections,” Saniora added.

Meanwhile, a March 14 delegation comprising MPs Kazem al-Kheir and Nidal Tohme and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea's representative Joseph Isaac laid a wreath of flowers at the tomb of Major Wissam Eid in Deir Amar in northern Lebanon.

“The March 14 forces are in pressing need for coherence in the face of the campaign against them,” al-Kheir said.

In the Beirut suburb of Tahwita, MPs Dori Chamoun, Mohammed al-Hajjar and Fouad al-Saad, accompanied by Phalange Party official Ramzi Abu Khaled and LF official Nadi Ghosn, visited the tomb of slain MP Antoine Ghanem.

Hajjar admitted that “there are some obstacles and clouds,” but stressed that “March 14 will remain and continue” and that “it is not the property of a single party and not the property of al-Mustaqbal Movement, the Phalange Party, the LF or any political group.”

“March 14 belongs to the people and to everyone who endorsed these values, carried the Lebanese flag and called for freedom, sovereignty and independence,” Hajjar added.

In downtown Beirut, MPs Ammar Houri and Sebouh Kalbakian, ex-MP Samir Franjieh, Phalange Party Secretary-General Michel Khoury and Phalage official Shaker Salameh laid wreaths of flowers on the tombs of ex-PM Hariri and Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan and their companions, in the presence of Hasan's father.

Another March 14 delegation visited slain minister Bassel Fleihan's tomb in Tahwita, where it laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence.

In Bikfaya, MPs Nohad al-Mashnouq, Bassem al-Shab and Henry Helou laid wreaths of flowers on the grave of slain industry minister Pierre Gemayel.

"March 14 is a movement of sovereignty and martyrdom, not a political movement or a movement of interests and electoral laws," said Mashnouq in a speech at the location.

Meanwhile, MPs Mohammed Qabbani, Samer Saade and Antoine Abu Khater laid wreaths of flowers on the tombs of slain MP Walid Eido and his son Khaled at the Martyrs Cemetery in Beirut, in the presence of Mustaqbal's general coordinator in Beirut Bashir Itani.


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