A battle of wills is being played out in Beirut with no sign of any break in the deadlock. On the one side, there are thousands of protesters on the street, intent on toppling the government. For the third day running, supporters of Hezbollah and its allies have poured onto the streets.
On the other, there is embattled prime minister Fouad Siniora.
“They are expressing their right of expression,” he said.
“We respect them and this is their right. At the same time, there are plenty other Lebanese, plenty, much more, who have different opinions. We have to do our best in order to reconcile.”
As tension mounts, government headquarters has become temporary home to Siniora and several members of his administration.
Walid Jumblatt is the most prominent leader of Lebanon’s Druze community.
“We are here with Fouad Siniora, the legitimate and constitutionally-elected prime minister for all of Lebanon with a legitimate and constitutionally-elected government. We are here and we will remain here,” he said.
Expressing concern at the situation, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has arrived in Beirut.
“I am here to conduct several contacts with several leaders of the nation and exchange views on how to deal with that situation,” he said.
With the issue of sovereignty icrucial, both sides will have noted Israel’s announced intention to complete its pullout from Lebanon.