A Lebanese unit of the Military College marches during a military parade to mark the 74th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. Hussein Malla/AP

IN PHOTOS: Lebanon Military Parade Marks 74 Years of Country's Independence

Saad Hariri celebrates 'Lebanon's stability and Lebanon's Arab nature' in his dramatic return to Beirut

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri participated in celebrations marking Independence Day celebrations, his first official appearance since his resignation, marking 74 years of independence.

A few thousand of Hariri supporters converged on his residence in central Beirut amid tight security, in a show of support. Hariri pledged to stay in Lebanon.

There is nothing more precious than our country, he told them. I am staying with you and I will keep going with you to be the first line of defense of Lebanon, its stability and its Arab nature.

Hariri then repeated a phrase he coined after the resignation: Lebanon first.

Hariri announced on Wednesday that he was putting his resignation on hold to give way for more consultations, nearly three weeks after he unexpectedly announced he was stepping down.

It was a quick reversal — a day after his return to Lebanon — and a likely embarrassment to Saudi Arabia, which was widely seen as having orchestrated his resignation.

Hussein Malla/AP
ANWAR AMRO/AFP
ANWAR AMRO/AFP
Hussein Malla/AP
MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS
ANWAR AMRO/AFP
ANWAR AMRO/AFP
MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS

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