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Anti-US Demonstrators March on American Embassy in Beirut


A noisy crowd of several thousand demonstrators gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy compound north of Beirut, protesting what they called U.S. meddling in Lebanon's internal affairs and demanding the withdrawal of U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman.

Several thousand demonstrators blocked the main road in front of the U.S. Embassy, shouting "Death to America" and denouncing U.S. policy in the Middle East.

One speaker, using a megaphone, demanded the United States remove ambassador Jeffrey Feltman from Lebanon.

A number of speakers from Lebanon's Hezbollah guerilla group, as well as pro-Syrian figures took part in the anti-U.S. demonstration. Hezbollah is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

The protesters did not cross police barriers set up one-half kilometer in front of the embassy compound. Lebanese police and army units could be seen in the background, but made no attempt to disrupt the demonstration.

The Lebanese government has prevented demonstrations in front of the U.S. Embassy on most occasions, since the country's civil war ended in 1990.

Today's smaller anti-American protest follows a massive anti-Syrian demonstration Monday in which nearly one million people gathered in Beirut's city center.

Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister-designate Omar Karami attempted to cobble together a new coalition government. He has been in caretaker capacity since Feb. 28 when he was forced to quit under popular pressure. He was reappointed to the job by President Emile Lahoud 10 days later.

Elsewhere in Beirut, Anti-Syrian opposition politicians are insisting that all security and intelligence officials from the previous government resign, before they join a new national unity government.

Meanwhile, Syrian military intelligence agents were vacating an office, loading furniture into trucks protected by Lebanese police. But Syrian agents remained at their main office for the Lebanese capital, located at Ramlet el-Baida on the edge of the city.

The withdrawal of Syrian intelligence, a widely resented arm through which Syria controls many aspects of Lebanese life, has also been a key demand of the Lebanese opposition.