Streets of Sidon silent in memory of Hariri - Church bells ring in harmony with verses from the Koran
By Mohammed Zaatari - Daily Star Staff
SIDON: Thousands of residents here commemorated the passing of one week since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by observing five minutes of silence as church bells rang in harmony with verses of the Koran streaming from mosques minarets at 12:55 p.m. on Monday.
The commercial center interrupted its activities, and a group of merchants led by the city's Merchants Association president, Ali Sharif headed to Nijmeh Square where they met Sidon mayor Abdel-Rahman Bizri.
Dozens of taxi drivers gathered on the other side of the square and cut off the road for the period of silence with black banners denouncing the killing and calling for exposing and punishing the perpetrators.
The whole city observed total silence, with residents saying prayers for the soul of Hariri and singing the national anthem.
Outside the Justice Palace, lawyers of Sidon and the South gathered in their gowns, while physicians and nurses at the city's hospitals observed silence outside their work stations.
The staff of the Hammoud Hospital said prayers with the owner, Ghassan Hammoud, and Al-Quds Mosque imam, Sheikh Maher Hammoud.
Private and public schools and universities also participated in the commemoration.
The Rafik Hariri Secondary School and the Hajj Bahaeddine Hariri School dedicated the entire day to commemorating the assassination of Hariri by lighting candles and laying wreaths on symbolic graves.
Student participation was on full display at the Mar Youssef Sisters Schools where students gathered with the principal, nuns and teachers in the school yard and sang the national anthem.
Al-Makassed schools, as well as the Evangelical school and Lebanese University branches, also observed a moment of silence.
Many residents gathered at the grave of Hariri's father outside the Hajj Bahaeddine Hariri Mosque. Public departments, fishermen and workers at the Sidon Port also took part.