Beirut mourns Gemayel

BEIRUT - Tens of thousands of Lebanese poured into central Beirut to pay tribute to murdered Christian leader Pierre Gemayel yesterday, turning his funeral into a show of strength against Syria and its Hezbollah allies.

BEIRUT - Tens of thousands of Lebanese poured into central Beirut to pay tribute to murdered Christian leader Pierre Gemayel yesterday, turning his funeral into a show of strength against Syria and its Hezbollah allies.

Sunni Muslim, Druze and Christian leaders have accused Syria of killing Gemayel, scion of one of Lebanon's most prominent Maronite families.

Damascus has condemned the assassination.

Crowds waving the flags of Lebanon and of Gemayel's Phalange Party packed Martyrs' Square in Beirut before the funeral.

Thousands of soldiers and police were deployed in the capital, bringing it to a standstill.

Shops, schools, banks and government offices were closed.

The crowds carried slogans calling on Syrian-backed Lebanese president Emile Lahoud to resign.

Gemayel, 34, was shot dead on Tuesday, the sixth killing of an anti-Syrian figure in less than two years in Lebanon, a cockpit for regional conflicts and rivalries for decades. - Reuters

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