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Hezbollah To Overthrow Lebanon Government

From a joyous Reuters:

A protester waves a Hezbollah flag in front of burning tires during a general strike called by the opposition in Sidon, south Lebanon January 23,2007.

Protests paralyze Lebanon

By Alistair Lyon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Protesters bent on toppling Lebanon’s cabinet blocked roads with blazing tires on Tuesday, sparking clashes with government loyalists in which three people were killed and more than 110 people hurt, police said.

The violence raised the stakes in a campaign by Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah and its Shi’ite and Christian allies to oust Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s Western-supported government and hold early parliamentary elections.

Lebanese troops tried to keep rival groups apart, but police said a member of the Christian pro-government Lebanese Forces party was shot dead in the town of Batroun, north of Beirut.

Two people were shot and killed in the mainly Sunni Muslim northern port of Tripoli. Police said gunfire wounded 45 people, many of them in the Christian towns of Byblos and Halba.

Siniora delayed plans to leave for Paris, where he is to attend an international aid conference for Lebanon. Officials said he would address the nation at 6:30 p.m. (1630 GMT).

Police said more than 110 people were hurt in a day of skirmishes around the country. Stone-throwing crowds fought in Beirut and Christian areas to the north, even though troops caught in the middle fired in the air to deter them.

Black smoke billowed over Beirut as demonstrators shut main roads, including those to the port and international airport, to enforce a general strike called by Hezbollah and its allies.

Several airlines canceled flights. About 300 passengers were stranded at the airport because nearby roads were closed.

"This government only understands force and today is only a small lesson," protester Jamil Wahb told Reuters in the Shi’ite southern suburbs. "We will stay here until they give in."

The army, which has been guarding government offices in central Beirut since the opposition began protesting there on December 1, has few extra troops to deploy. It is already stretched after moving thousands of men to south Lebanon and the Syrian border following Hezbollah’s war with
Israel last year.

One Christian leader said Tuesday’s protests were tantamount to a coup attempt.

Siniora has rejected opposition demands. Instead he has announced an economic reform plan to be presented on Thursday to the Paris conference, where foreign donors are expected to pledge money to help Lebanon’s debt-laden economy.

"We (the United States) will make a long-term financial contribution to help Lebanon rebuild itself," said Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns at a seminar in Dubai.

Such support would help thwart those trying "to overturn a democratically elected government through … mobs."

Hezbollah’s deputy leader Naim Kassem told Al Jazeera television that the unrest would continue.

"We will do our utmost to maintain control of ourselves and our supporters but I share with you the concern about the other side, which has no such controls," he said.

Many shops, schools and businesses were closed in Beirut, in some areas because people supported the strike, in others because they could not get to work past barricades.

Pro-government figures condemned the protests.

"What is happening is a revolution and a coup attempt," Christian leader Samir Geagea told al-Jazeera television. "This is direct terrorism to paralyze the country."

Opposition sources say protests will last for several days.

"Our campaign will escalate day by day," Suleiman Franjieh, an opposition Christian leader, told al-Manar television. "As long as they won’t listen to us, we will not let them rest."

The opposition campaign has raised tension between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Lebanon, still recovering from a 1975-90 civil war.

Like most Reuters articles, you have to do a little translation.

Here "protesters" means "Hezbollah terrorists." Or as Reuters would have liked to put it: "freedom fighters."

Still, even Reuters dare not go as far as their sister outlet, Al Jazeera.


Al-Jazeera: Lebanese Opposition a "Sovereign Power"

With the outbreak of the strike and rioting called for today by the Lebanese opposition, Al-Jazeera TV has begun to call the Lebanese opposition a "sovereign power."

Source: Al-Jazeera TV, January 23, 2007

Perhaps this will be a lesson to all who shelter these vipers, like Lebanon has done.

But of course it won’t be.

By the way, where are the world famous United Nations peace-keeping forces in all of this?

We haven’t heard one word about them.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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