Even though the prayer is scheduled at 1:00. 14th of March forces and supporters gathered up. There is a huge line up at Martyr's Square (known also as called by 14th of March os Independence Square.
Yesterday, the invitation on TV towards Pierre Gemayel's funeral was called: "Invitation to Pierre Gemayel's Wedding". All yesterday and today, the coffin had rice thrown to it just as a wedding couple is passing. Wherever the coffin passes, people would clap and whistle (even though with tears) as if people celebrating the assassinated one rather mourning (well mentally they are mourning). Such a Funeral celebration has started with the assassination of Samir Qassir last year to celebrate that the assassinated one's ideas are alive (or the assassinated one is still alive). I was at Samir Qassir and George Hawwi's funerals, personally the only thing that touched me was the clapping and whistling towards the coffin. Another part of the celebration is that the carriers of the coffin would shake the coffin up and down to make it dance, again a symbol to make even the dead dance and celebrate at their own event to which over a million gathered. This is an attempted move to deny the pleasure of the assassins to celebrate their Joy on the tears of the others.
The Oath of Jubran Tueini has been repeated, which says:
"We swear by God the Almighty
To Stand United
Christians and Muslims
In Defence of Great Lebanon"
There is traffic jam in the Dora area, while the coffin of Pierre Gemayel is moving from Bekfaya to Down Town Maronite Christian Church St. Georges (There is also a Greek Orthodox Church over there called St. George).
One of the demonstrators raises a picture of Aoun and under it written: "Who split the lines?"
The Ba'abda Presidential Palace has tripled its security. Lahoud seems worried today (I wonder why?)
Expected participation today is 1.5 million and more than 14th of March itself just as transportations from all over Lebanon have been secured through buses.
The flags raised in today's funeral march/demonstration are the Lebanese and the Phalange Cedar, Future Youth flag, PSP flags, Lebanese Flags, Ahhrar Flags (Shamoun's Party).
Other supporters are raising banners called "The Truth" (that were used extensively in 14th of March demonstration). Others are wearing the ribbons of the color of their Party, such as Blue for Future Movement of Al-Harriri.
Again, it is remarkable how in these demonstrations, interesting logos rise such as:
"We are hostages to Iran, Syria, and Israel"
"Enough To the Assassinations of Syrian Regime"
"Weaponry to one legitimate Army"
Pics. of al-Harriri, Pierre and Bashir Gemayel (whether alone or with their families).
The coverage of the Demonstration has been well prepared for on TV with as always perfect sound system.
Politicians are expected to deliver their speeches.
Israeli airplanes crossed borders again (for the Zillionth time) and flew over Tyre (Sour): Wonder why? Self-Protection again?
Omro Moussa is in St. George Church. Omro Moussa is the Chairman of the Arab League.
Ambassadors of Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia and others are in St. George as well.
Other than 14th of March figures participating in the funeral, the wife of Nabih Berri, Randa Berri, is in Church as well.
Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement are also participating in the funeral/wedding. The Media Section of FPM declared they are participating but they are not wearing anything of their party's symbols because they want to avoid any clashes with other parties. Actually Aoun is in a sticky situation and it showed yesterday on NBN interview how calm he was rather going Bezerk as always.Pederson (forgot how spelled: Kofi Annan's Delegate) is in St. George's Church as well.
Pierre Gemayel's family arrives and is welcomed by rice and roses.
Chairmain of the MP and head of AMAL Movement, Nabih Berri arrived and was shoved by demonstrators. Actually the security forces had their hands busy as people shoved Nabih Berrim, attempts to hit him, and kept booing him as traitor.
Update:The Two coffins of Pierre Gemayel and his escort Samir Shartouni arrive to Church amidst huge clapping.
All the figures of 14th of March are down and religious representatives whether Muslim/Christian (including Greek Orthodox's Archbishop Aowdi)
Seniora (Prime Minister) and Berri are standing in Front.
Behind them are Jaajaa (Lebanese Forces) Saad Harriri (Future) and Walid Junblatt and their wives are behind them as well as Boutros Harb (14th of March MP).
Controversy: Amin Gemyal arrives to the Church (1:17) and hugs Mousa, Seniora, but by-passes Nabih Berri (who is standing between them) as if he is not present. Then he hugs Jaajaa, Harb, Junblatt, and Harriri but still by-passes Berri as if not present. (Not sure if he did again, but this is what I have seen on TV for now). (My analysis, Berri in the past has been one a heck of a fluctuating figure during the Civil War. His movement and Hezbollah clashed several times in the war and it was the Syrians who saved him even though he flirted with US diplomats. Moreover, Berri lost most of his movement's grass roots to Hezbollah, specially after Nasrallah pioneered. Actually in the latest Municipality where AMAL and Hezbollah are present, Hezbollah sweeped through Berri since they competed for the Shiite power. Yet Nasrallah overwhelmed Berri as Nasrallah's party got cleaner reputation than Bureaucratic AMAL..Berri remained a Syrian Loyalist and was "attempting" to do a national dialogue which was doomed from the beginning as both camps refuted to accept the other).
TVs say that Amin Gemayel, Harriri, Junblatt, and Jaajaa are expected to speak after the Funeral/Wedding is over.
The Funeral Ceremonies are headed by Archbishop of the Maronites Nasrallah Sfeir and Archbishop Aowdi is participating in the prayers.
Philippe Douste-Blazy is representing Chirac in the funeral.
Bishop Boulos (Peter in English) Mattar interrupts to announce that Prime Minister Seniora told him that the Security Council met and agreed to include the assassination of Pierre Gemayel with the other assassinations as a case in the International Tribunal.
Prior to the assassination, a propaganda directed by 14th of March raised all the pictures of the assassinated ones and the survivors of the assassinations.
Media news ranged presence between 350,000 to 800,000
Amin Gemayel's media office said that Amin Gemayel and Nabih Berri said hello to each other just prior entering the Church.