This surely has to be the largest political demonstrations of all time. After taking a cue from Ukraine, Lebanon seems to be exercising people power to effect political change.
"Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese jammed the center of downtown Beirut today, packing its central square and spilling out onto the surrounding roads, in the largest demonstration yet demanding the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from the country.
Seemingly every available space around the heart of the city overflowed with people waving the red-and-white striped Lebanese flag in what was being billed as the largest demonstration ever in Lebanon’s history."
For those who deride people power in a democracy, this should be a real-time lesson. Lebanon, tired of Syrian presence in their country finally reached the limit of their patience when Ex-Prime Minister, Rafik al-Hariri was assassinated by a powerful bomb in downtown Beirut last month.
The presence of such a huge number of Lebanese put added pressure on the government of Syria to announce a serious timetable for the withdrawal of both its 14,000 troops and its estimated 5,000 secret police officers in the country.
Demonstrations, especially the ones that jam the city roads and inconvenience thousands of office-goers are often looked upon with derision. We often look at the people in rallies with a look of "they don’t have anything better to do" but only such mass outpouring of people brought about radical change in Ukraine and now Lebanon. Some might say that Bush is proved right by the spread of freedom in the Middle East; but I rather look at this as an event waiting to happen. The war in Iraq may have hastened it but did not certainly cause it. The voice of the people can never be ignored. Also, as Instapundit notes, political movements were never so sexy either :) and it is called a conservative weblog? Gah!
More pictures here. (of the demonstration)