|March 14 Forces Urge Massive Turnout at Gemayel's Funeral
|The anti-Syrian camp has called for a massive turnout at the funeral of slain Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel on Thursday.
The service will first be held at the Maronite Cathedral of St. George in downtown Beirut at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), said a statement from the "March 14" group that met at the Phalange party headquarters in Saifi on Tuesday.
The body of Gemayel will then be taken to his home town of Bikfaya, in the mountains east of the capital, for burial.
"The entire world will hear in the next few days the real voice of Lebanon, the voice of freedom, sovereignty and independence," said former MP Fares Soaid, reading the statement.
"The March 14 forces calls on their followers and friends ... to participate massively in the popular burial of the heroic martyr Pierre Gemayel," it said. They also called for a total shutdown of businesses across Lebanon.
The group said "sadness has turned into anger" after Tuesday's assassination. "We will go after the criminals and all those who cover this crime ... the blood of Pierre Gemayel will not go in vain," it said.
But "the March 14 forces also call on all their followers ... to stay away from any sign of discord which only serves the objectives of the evil criminals," it added.
Gemayel's Phalange party confirmed in a statement that the burial was postponed by 24 hours to Thursday, rather than originally announced.
Gunned down Tuesday in New Jdeideh, northern suburb of Beirut, Gemayel, 34, was the latest victim in a spate of attacks on Lebanese anti-Syrian politicians widely blamed on Damascus.
A three-day period of national mourning was also officially announced in Lebanon, where Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday have been called off.
On Tuesday night, mourners lit candles at a vigil held at the scene where Gemayel was assassinated.