Lebanon is in the grip of renewed internal conflict after protests against the government turned violent. At least two people have been killed in the country in clashes between pro-government and opposition factions. It began with a strike and a series of demonstrations in Beirut and elsewhere. The protesters – an alliance of shi’ites and Christians – want the western backed government to stand down and are calling for fresh elections. They accuse it of not representing all Lebanese. The over-stretched army has been struggling to restore order. The chaos has affected travel to and from the country with some airlines cancelling flights.
It is the most serious escalation of protests that began with a rally outside government buildings in December. Prime Minister Fouad Sinioura’s western backed government has called the day’s events a coup attempt. He has restated the administration, which is dominated by anti-Syrian Sunni politicians, will not be standing down.