Hezbollah chief makes rare public show at Beirut rally
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
An image grab taken from Lebanon's Hezbollah-run Manar TV shows Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah waving to crowds as he makes a rare appearance to deliver a speech during a rally denouncing a low-budget US-made film mocking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed in southern Beirut on September 17, 2012. AFP photoHezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance on Monday to address an anti-US rally in southern Beirut attended by thousands of protesters who took to the streets to denounce a film mocking Islam.
It was his fifth public appearance in six years, and the first time he made a full speech in person to thousands of his supporters since 2008. Nasrallah has been in hiding since 2006, when his Lebanese Shiite movement and Israel fought a bloody 33-day war.
Hezbollah supporters protest in Beirut over film
Several thousand supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement took to the streets of southern Beirut on Monday to denounce a US-made film mocking Islam that has caused outrage across the Muslim world.
"America is the great Satan!" and "Death to Israel! Death to Israel!" cried the protesters, shrouded in an ocean of colourful flags representing the powerful Shiite movement and its ally Amal.
"We sacrifice ourselves for you, O Mohammed!" and "We sacrifice ourselves for you, O Islam," they yelled, raising their fists to the sky. "O America, listen to us, you cannot humiliate our religion!" Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called for a week of protests across Lebanon over the low-budget, US-produced film, describing it as the "worst attack ever on Islam." "I haven't seen the film, but I know it portrays the Prophet as a bloodthirsty man who only thinks about his desires," said 29-year-old Nabih Ayash, one of the protesters in Beirut.
"I came to heed the Prophet's call... but I waited until an organised protest was staged, so that we do not give a bad image of Muslims." Violent protests and clashes have broken out since last week, leading to the deaths of 18 people worldwide, including a US ambassador in Libya and three members of the diplomatic corps.
In Tripoli in north Lebanon, Islamists set fire to a fast food restaurant on Friday, in protest over the film, while a 25-year-old was killed when protesters clashed with the security forces.