Violence in Lebanon: could aid be under threat?

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Violence in Lebanon: could aid be under threat?

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Roadblocks and burning barricades have begun to be dismantled across Lebanon after a day of violent conflict around the country. It comes after Hezbollah called off an anti-government strike but vowed to continue with further “more effective” protests in the future.

The protesters, an alliance of Shi’ites and Christians, want the western-backed government to stand down. They accuse it of not representing all Lebanese. However, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a Sunni Muslim, vowed to stand firm. However the unrest did lead him to delay his departure for an international conference on aid for Lebanon to be held in Paris tomorrow.

Lebanese troops struggled to keep the rival groups apart. 3 people were killed in the clashes, while 133 were injured. Crowds threw stones in Beirut even though troops caught in the middle fired into the air to deter them.

The international community has urged Lebanon to settle its internal differences peacefully, but French President Jacques Chirac warned that the unrest could deter foreign aid donors.