Beirut puts out flags for the Pope

Crowds throwing rice and rose petals gave Pope John Paul II a tumultuous welcome yesterday at the start of a brief visit to Lebanon, his first to a Middle Eastern country.

Tens of thousands of people waving papal flags, balloons and even tree branches greeted the Pontiff as he drove through Beirut on the six-mile route from the airport to the presidential palace.

Robert Fisk, page 13

Photograph by MARWAN ASSAF/AP