Tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians took part in a massive May Day rally on Sunday in honour of left-wing leader; Kamal Jumblatt, shot by unknown assassins earlier this year.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians took part in a massive May Day rally on Sunday in honour of left-wing leader; Kamal Jumblatt, shot by unknown assassins earlier this year. But the day of mourning was marred by the deaths of three men fired on at a Syrian army checkpoint and the discovery of the bodies of two other gunshot victims.
SYNOPSIS: The sound of bagpipes led the commemorative rally in Beirut. Tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians representing all the factions who fought during the civil war, took part. Among them were thousands of schoolchildren. There have been dozens of rallies in honour of Mr Jumblatt since his assassination but this was by far the biggest one, coinciding with the international day for workers.
A motorcade brought visiting dignataries to UNESCO Palace in the Lebanese capital for the official ceremonies. Delegates from several African, Middle Eastern and European countries were there. Most of them represented Communist and Socialist parties. Lebanon's Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss also took part. Kamal Jumblatt was the supremo of the alliance of Lebanese leftist parties during the cavil war until he was shot dead by gunmen in an ambush on a mountain road on the 16th of March.
The 28-year-old son of Kamal Jumblatt, Walid, was among the speakers paying tribute to his father. Walid Jumblatt was declared his successor as President of the Progressive Socialist Party on Saturday (30 April). Walid, who has already succeeded his father as head of the Druze sect in the country, said he would see that the Palestinian people be given their rights.
Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), was given a rousing reception when he arrived to speak. Mr Arafat, whose commandos were allied to the Lebanese left during the civil war, vowed he would continue the "Lebanese-Palestinian" marriage. He said they would continue yearning of the attainment of the aims for which Kamal Jumblatt was martyred.