Lebanon is mourning the death of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayal. Thousands gathered for a candle-lit vigil at the spot in Beirut where the Maronite Christian politician was shot dead. Mourners prayed, no doubt hoping that the sixth assassination of an anti-Syrian figure in two years was not the precursor of another wave of political killings. In his hometown, Bekfaya, hundreds queued to pay their respects and offer their condolences to Gemayel’s family.
His father, a former Lebanese President, called for calm. But along with many others in the country, he has voiced suspicions Damascus was behind his son’s death. Syria rejects the claims. During the evening, the UN Security Council agreed to help investigate the death.
The UN commission already looking into the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri will take on the probe. Gemayel was shot at close range in broad daylight in his car. His supporters are calling for a large turnout to his funeral on Thursday, hoping it will boost their struggle with pro-Syrian opposition forces.
Security has been boosted in Beirut in preparation for an outpouring of anger at the death of a man, some are calling a hero and a martyr.