VIDEO - Lebanon began to bid farewell to an assassinated young Christian politician Thursday, and his anti-Syrian allies sought to turn an expected huge turnout at his funeral into a massive show of force against opponents led by the militant Shiite Muslim Hizbullah and their Syrian backers. About 2,000 people, some carrying flags of Lebanon and other burning pictures of Syria's president and Lebanon's pro-Syrian leaders, began convening in downtown Beirut in the morning, hours before Pierre Gemayel's early afternoon funeral, which was expected to turn into a display of anti-Syrian feelings. Gemayel, 34, was killed Tuesday when two cars blocked his vehicle at an intersection as he left a church and assassins shot him numerous times through a side window. He was the sixth anti-Syrian figure killed in Lebanon in two years, including former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri who was slain in a massive bomb blast in Beirut in February 2005. Billboards of the slain industry minister featuring a picture of his shot up car appeared on major streets, and troops lined the roads Thursday in Gemayel's hometown of Bikfaya in the Christian heartland of north Beirut. Angry crowds carried slogans calling on Syrian-backed Lebanese President Emile Lahoud to resign. “Bashar agent, get out of Baabda (palace),” one banner read, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Gemayel's coffin, wrapped in flags of the Phalange Party and Lebanon, was taken from the family home through Bikfaya's main street to the entrance of the town. There, at the statue of his grandfather and party founder, the coffin was to be placed in a cortege and driven to Beirut. Mourners carry Gemayel's casket (Photo: AFP) The funeral was expected to revive the 2005 mass protests - the so-called "Cedar Revolution" - after Hariri's assassination which, along with international pressure, drove Syria to withdraw its army from the neighboring country after nearly three decades of control. A massive turnout is expected to boost anti-Syrian forces, who are facing heavy pressure from Hizbullah and pro-Syrian groups seeking to unseat the Western-backed government. But it also raised fears it could be the first round of demonstrations that could bring the political standoff into the volatile streets. Gemayel's father calls for calm While some supporters called for revenge against Syria and its allies, Gemayel's father - a former president - and the Maronite Church quickly called for calm, hoping to avert an explosion of violence in the multi-sectarian nation of 4 million, already struggling with a deepening political crisis. The UN Security Council approved on Wednesday a Lebanese government request to add the Gemayel killing to the string of previous attacks the UN inquiry is investigating. “Only the international tribunal protects us” and “Lebanon means life” read banners held by mourners in Beirut. Before Gemayel's slaying, Hizbullah had threatened to hold its own mass protests in an attempt to bring down the US-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. But Hizbullah officials Wednesday said the group would take no action in the coming days to allow emotions to cool. “It can’t stage a demonstration now. It would be widely read as a pro-Syrian demonstration as opposed to an anti-government demonstration,” Hizbullah expert Amal Saad Ghorayeb said. Gemayel's assassination introduced new tensions into the already dangerous power struggle in Lebanon. Shiites are backed by Syria and Iran. The government and its Sunni Muslim and Christian supporters are backed by the United States and the West.