Supporters of both pro-Western factions and Hezbollah militants honored their respective slain leaders.
Rival visions for Lebanon were on stark display here Thursday as partisans from competing political camps gathered to honor their respective slain leaders.
In downtown Beirut, tens of thousands of Lebanese braved the icy rain to gather in Martyrs' Square to remember Rafik Hariri, the billionaire former prime minister who died three years ago to the day in a massive truck bomb blast, an assassination that his supporters blame on Syria.
A slew of top anti-Syrian legislators delivered fiery speeches demanding the election of a new president and charged Syria with meddling in Lebanese affairs.
Across town, in the Shiite-dominated southern suburbs, Hizbullah chieftains led a funeral ceremony for Imad Mughnieh, the group's senior military commander who was killed Tuesday in a Damascus bombing.
The rival events came amid heightening tensions, with Lebanon mired in a steadily worsening crisis pitting the anti-Syrian, pro-Western March 14 political coalition, named for the day of a huge rally three years ago, against the Hezbollah-led opposition, driven perhaps even more now to end American influence here. The country has been without a president since November.
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