Thousands of Shi’ite Muslim and Christian protesters have blocked roads in Beirut in a fresh attempt to oust the western-backed government. The demonstrations appear to a coordinated attempt to paralyse the city, with the main roads to the port and airport closed.
The strike escalates a campaign by Hizbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, and its allies to replace the government and hold early parliamentary elections. The government has said it will give in to the demands. A number of people are said to have been injured in gunfire between rival factions.
They have been similar protests clashes elsewhere in the country. The army has been trying to restore order but has few extra troops to deploy. It is already stretched after moving thousands of soldiers to stabilise southern Lebanon after the war between Israel and Hizbullah last year.