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Overnight curfew in Beirut after clashes

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Overnight curfew in Beirut after clashes


Soldiers using armour have been patrolling the streets of Beirut, as the army enforces a dusk to dawn curfew in the Lebanese capital. The tension is still palpable, after clashes earlier in the day between pro and anti-government activists left at least four people dead and scores injured. The latest unrest began at Beirut’s Arab University in the city, with a fist fight between students. It quickly turned into street battles which spread across the capital between pro-government Sunnis and Shi’ite opponents.

Rival fighters threw rocks, exchanged gunfire and set cars ablaze. There were calls for calm from Prime Minister Siniora and Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah issued a religious edict or fatwa, urging supporters off the streets.

Soldiers were called in to restore order. Security sources said two opposition students, a government supporter and another person were shot dead. The violence follows an anti-government strike on Tuesday, which saw three people killed and a hundred more injured.

The Hezbollah-led opposition wants a role in the parliament and has threatened action if it does not get it. It is calling on the pro-western government to resign. Many Lebanese fear there will be civil war, if there is no urgent resolution of the political strife.

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