A demonstration against the anti-islam film “Innocence of Muslims” which has been wreaking havoc across the region drew over 100 000 protestors to the Dahiye, in the suburbs of Beirut today. Hassan Nasrallah, who made a rare appearance himself, called for the protest just hours after the pope left last night.
“The U.S. should know that broadcasting the full version of the movie will have very, very, very dangerous repercussions worldwide,” Nasrallah told a cheering crowd. Although I sadly missed the man himself as I was stuck in a different part of the massive demonstration, I heard that babies had to be handed onto balconies as the crowd went beserk and lunged towards their leader.
Slogans such as “Death to Israel,” “Death to America” and “America, America you are the great Satan” were chanted in unison by the thousands thronging the streets of the Beirut suburb and Hezbollah stronghold, as well as declarations in support of the prophet Mohammed.
Although in pictures this might seem spontaneous, this is the result of a remarkably well organised set up. Every few hundred meters or so, a man stood on a truck, and recited the same slogans from what looked like identical scripts. A wall of speakers echoed them to the crowd. Placed along strategic intervals, they produced a seamless wall of noise as the crowd stretched into the distance.
There were many women and children present among the protestors; walking amongst the women my heels kept being nipped by strollers. The protest also seemed like a social event, with young men and women flirting, women exchanging gossip and participants taking pictures and videos of themselves and the crowd.
More protests have been planned by Hezbollah throughout the country over the next few days.
More pictures from rally can be seen here: http://www.demotix.com/news/1455477/hezbollah-rally-dahiye-draws-over-100000