Thousands of Lebanese waving the national flag have gathered in Beirut for the funeral of a top intelligence official who was assassinated in a massive car bombing that many blame on the regime in neighbouring Syria.
Lebanese forces set up road blocks and cordoned off Beirut's Martyrs Square, boosting security in the capital. Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan's coffin will be brought to the square for burial.
Mr Al-Hassan, 47, was a powerful opponent of Syria in Lebanon. He headed an investigation over the summer that led to the arrest of former information minister Michel Samaha, a Lebanese politician who was one of Syria's most loyal allies in Lebanon. He was among eight people killed in the attack on Friday.
Even before the bombing, the civil war in neighbouring Syria had set off violence in Lebanon and deepened tensions between supporters and opponents of president Bashar Assad's regime.
The attack heightened fears that Lebanon could easily plunge back into cycles of sectarian violence and reprisal that have haunted it for decades.
Dozens of anti-Syrian protesters erected eight tents near the Cabinet headquarters in central Beirut, saying they will stay until prime minister Najib Mikati's government, which is dominated by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies, resigns.
Hezbollah is Syria's most powerful ally in Lebanon, which for much of the past 30 years has lived under Syrian military and political domination.
"The Syrian regime started a war against us and we will fight this battle until the end," said protester Anthony Labaki, a 24-year-old physiotherapist who is a member of the right-wing Phalange Party.
He said the protesters will not leave the area until Mr Mikati's government resigns and those behind Mr al-Hassan's killing are uncovered.
Syria's hold on Lebanon began to slip in 2005, when former prime minister Rafik Hariri, an opponent of Syria, was assassinated in a truck bomb along Beirut's Mediterranean waterfront. Syria denied any role but broad public outrage in Lebanon expressed in massive street protests forced Damascus to withdraw its tens of thousands of troops from the country.