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French Version

Name that revolution

The U.S. State Department named anti-Syrian street demonstrations in Lebanon the "Cedar revolution," in reference to Lebanon's majestic trees that are celebrated in the Bible as a symbol of well-being and are at the centerpiece of the national flag.

Presenting on Monday the State Department's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky said: "In Lebanon, we see growing momentum for a 'Cedar revolution' that is unifying the citizens of that nation to the cause of true democracy and freedom from foreign influence."

Protesters have gathered in Martyrs' Square, which they dubbed Freedom Square, ever since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Feb.14 to demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops and the resignation of top pro-Syrian political and security officials.

Dobriansky mentioned Czechoslovakia's "Velvet revolution," a "Rose revolution" in Georgia, Ukraine's "Orange revolution," and the recent "Purple revolution" in Iraq.

Fifteen years ago, Czechoslovak playwright Vaclav Havel led his Velvet revolution and toppled the country's communist leaders.

In 2003, the former Soviet republic of Georgia underwent a Rose revolution against President Eduard Shevardnadze. Reformers took over after weeklong protests.

More recently, Ukraine, also a former Soviet republic, experienced an Orange revolution that culminated in the election last December of pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko. Iraq's Purple revolution, so-called by U.S. President George W. Bush last week in Slovakia, refers to how Iraqis proudly held up their fingers dipped in purple to prove they voted in the elections.

Beirut,03 07 2005
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