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Monday, October 24, 2005 

Syria Implicated in Assassination, Sparks Pro-Government Protest

UN investigation points finger at Syria for Lebanese PM

(AP) "The report indicated that people of a high level of this Syrian regime were implicated, [in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.]" Straw told the BBC on Sunday. "We also have evidence ... of false testimony being given by senior people in the regime. This is very serious."

But don’t tell that to the Syrians:

Waving placards and pictures of their president, tens of thousands of Syrians protested in a pro-government rally Monday over a U.N. report on the killing of a Lebanese leader. […] "Mr. Mehlis: we are not murderers," read one banner, referring to Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor who wrote the report that implicated top Syrian security officials.

And of course, what would a protest in the Middle East be without the usual anti-US sentiment:
The protesters shouted slogans against the United States and unfurled banners with messages such as: "Get away from Syria" and "Syria will never be another Iraq."

However, this was helped along by the Syrian Government:
To ensure a big turnout, the government granted students a holiday and encouraged civil servants to attend. Officials from the ruling Baath Party took part in the demonstration, which was organized by state-controlled labor unions. Policeman blocked roads to traffic to make way for the protest.

You have to love those “spontaneous” displays of undying support for your local tyrants.