Crowds mourn top Lebanese chief as protests continue | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 21.10.2012
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Middle East

Crowds mourn top Lebanese chief as protests continue

Thousands of mourners have gathered in central Beirut on Sunday for the funeral service of slain intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan. Security forces have been stepped up as protests continue across Lebanon.

Wearing black, mourners carried pictures of al-Hassan and chanted anti-Syrian slogans as they walked through the city's streets to gather for the service, expected to begin at 1200 GMT.

Lebanese security forces have set up road blocks and cordoned off Martyrs' Square in the city center around Al-Amine mosque, where the service is to take place. Lebanese officials, mostly from anti-Syria factions, are expected to attend.

Large posters of al-Hassan have been erected around Beirut showing the slogan "martyr of sovereignty and independence," reported the Associated Press.

Blame game

Al-Hassan, an anti-Syrian Sunni Muslim, was killed when a car bomb exploded on Friday.

The opposition coalition blamed the pro-Syria government for the attack, which killed seven other people and wounded 80 in Beirut's Ashrafiyeh district.

Al-Hassan is to be buried alongside late prime minister Rafik Hairi, who was assassinated in 2005.

Large protests occurred around Lebanon on Saturday as a day to mourn al-Hassan was officially declared. Crowds burned tires and blocked roads in Sidon in the south, Tripoli in the north and the Bekaa Valley in the east.

jlw/hc (dpa, AP)

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