'Free Geagea' Massive Demonstration at Bkirki, Harissa
(Naharnet/Saturaday April 23, 2005)
Tens of thousands of Lebanese Forces activists have staged a massive demonstration at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkirki and the neighboring Papal Nuncio's residence in Harissa, demanding a prompt and unconditional release of LF commander Samir Geagea from 11 years in prison.
Waving a forest of LF green-and-white cedar flags and portraits of Geagea and slain President-elect Bashir Gemayel, the LF founder, the protestors kept chanting a single slogan of "Release Geagea" the 4-hour demonstration on Saturday, An Nahar reported on Sunday.
"Since national reconciliation cannot be attained without Samir Geagea, it is then imperative to free him at once and without conditions," said LF Student Department Chief Daniel Spiro in an oration he delivered from a Bkirki balcony.
Many women carrying children with LF flags wrapped around their heads poured into Bkirki's sprawling courtyard in bus convoys from the four corners of Lebanon's Christian heartland, crossing the Dog River and Death River .
An Nahar said some of the demonstrators wearing military fatigues were involved in minor skirmishes with riot police, who demanded that military-like uniforms should be taken off. The demonstrators complied at orders from LF superiors, An Nahar said. There were no incidents of violence.
The LF demonstrators were joined by students from many other factions that banded in a united anti-Syria opposition front after the assassination of ex-premier Hariri, also brandishing posters demanding Geagea's release before the May elections.
Sitrida: Hakim will be Out of Jail Shortly
(Naharnet/Sunday April 24, 2005)
Sitrida Geagea has pledged the Lebanese Forces to defend the unity of Lebanon's opposition factions, to safeguard the national reconciliation, to uphold the Taif Accord and to main distinguished relations with Syria after evacuating Lebanon, vowing not to "replace one tutelage by another."
Mrs. Geagea outlined the LF political stance in a speech she gave after a mass in the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkirki with dozens of Muslim and Christian opposition leaders among the audience. The mass marked the end of a weeklong LF drive for her husband Samir Geagea's release on the 11th anniversary of his arrest in 1994.
She pledged the LF, which once was the mightiest Christian militia during the civil war, to spare no effort to tear down sectarian barriers and build the bridges of dialogue for a sound national reconciliation that puts a final end for the aftershocks of the war.
"Lebanon is beginning to emerge from its big prison," Mrs. Geagea said in an obvious reference to Syria's evacuation. "The Hakim will shortly emerge from his jail."