Amid tightened security measures, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese rallied Tuesday at Martyrs Square in central Beirut marking the first anniversary of the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.
The demonstrators raised Lebanese flags and banners reading "Independence, Sovereignty, Freedom", "Lebanese Unity", and chanted repeatedly the Lebanese national anthem.
The demonstrators carried pictures of Hariri and those of anti-Syrian figures killed in a spate of bombings that followed Hariri's assassination, including editor and lawmaker Gibran Tueni, journalist Samir Quseir and former secretary general of the Lebanese Communist Party George Hawi.
The massive demonstration was attended by the slain former prime minister's son and leader of the Future bloc Saad al-Hariri among other anti-Syrian figures.
The crowds fell silent at 12:55 PM (10:55 GMT), the time that a huge truck bomb exploded on a downtown street as Hariri's motorcade drove by a year ago, killing him and 20 others. A horn blew three times to mark the moment of explosion. Then the crowd roared with shouts of "Syria out" and "Truth, Freedom, National Unity!"
The UN probe has implicated some Syrian and Lebanese officials into Hariri's murder.
Syria has denied involvement and completed pullout of its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon last April under mounting pressure.
(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2006)