Relative calm on the streets of Beirut

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Relative calm on the streets of Beirut

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Gangs of youths gather on street corners, but the feeling on the streets of southern Beirut is one of relative calm. Sporadic shooting has been heard in the city overnight.

There is a heavy military presence, an ominous reminder of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

But this is nothing compared to earlier. Police used teargas to disperse protestors who tried to storm the Prime Minister’s office, repeating opposition calls for him to resign.

Thousands had gathered for the funeral of the assassinated intelligence chief Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan. It turned into a political rally.

Many blame Damascus for Friday’s car bomb which claimed al-Hassan’s life and, by extension, Hezbollah. The interior intelligence chief had helped to uncover Syrian involvement in a bomb plot in August.

Lebanon’s religious communities are sharply divided between those that support Bashar al-Assad and those that back the rebels.