BEIRUT: Fresh protests got underway in south and north Lebanon Friday against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s 11-month-old crackdown on dissent.
After Friday prayers, protesters emerged from mosques in Sidon, the provincial capital of the south, and Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city.
About 4,000 men, women and children came out of Bilal Bin Rabah mosque in Sidon and marched three kilometers toward the city center.
The protesters, brandishing banners that denounced Assad, shouted slogans criticizing Russia’s position on Syria.
Russia and China recently vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ending Syria's bloodshed.
“O Syria’s butcher [Assad], you smell,” one banner read. Another said: “Supporting a butcher is a sin.”
A group of Syrian opposition members residing in Sidon also took part in the rally.
In Tripoli, amid strict security measures, a crowd of about 700 emerged from Al-Mansour Al-Kabir mosque.
The procession, organized by Hizb Ut-Tahrir, made its way through the streets of the neighborhood of Tal to the municipality.
“O Homs residents, Tripoli is with you until victory is achieved against oppression,” the protesters yelled.
They also shouted condemnations of the “crimes” committed in Homs and Aleppo.
A similar demonstration kicked off after Friday prayers in Hamza mosque in nearby Qibbeh.
Some 300 angry protesters rallied toward Ibn Sina Square where they held a prayer for the souls of the martyrs of the Syrian uprising.
East Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley witnessed two rallies, but a third one planned for Rashaya was cancelled.
Nearly 500 protesters emerged from Ali ibn Abi Taleb mosque in Saadnayel while another anti-Assad demo of about 100 took place outside Qab Elias' Al-Kabir mosque.
Meanwhile, approximately 100 demonstrated outside Sahat al-Imam mosque in al-Tariq al-Jadideh, west Beirut, following Friday prayers.
Security forces took stringent measures to ensure that the rallies remain peaceful.
No incidents were reported during any of the demonstrations.