Freedom is on the march
Thousands of protestors defied a government ban on protests in Beirut.
Thousands of demonstrators massed in central Beirut overnight to defy a government ban on protests on Monday ahead of a fiery debate in parliament over the assassination of the country's former prime minister.If you read blogs, this should bring instantly to mind the orange revolution in the Ukraine.
Opposition groups have called a demonstration at central Martyrs Square and a one-day strike to coincide with the debate on Rafik al-Hariri's killing on Feb. 14 that for many recalled Lebanon's bitter 1975-90 civil war.
Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday "to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday."
The Syrian-backed government's protest ban is due to come into effect at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).
Late on Sunday, soldiers manning barriers set up in central Beirut stopped hundreds of protesters from entering Martyrs Square, which is near Hariri's grave.
Thousands of demonstrators draped in Lebanese flags had already gathered in the square, where patriotic songs blared from loudspeakers.
If you're as old as I am, you remember when Beirut was the garden spot of the mideast and a mecca for vacationers. It's been a long time and many deaths since Beirut was a destination for anyone.
Oh, and they're holding elections in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, former Soviet satellites.