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Beirut deputies living in high-security hotel

Beirut deputies living in high-security hotel
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They live quite literally in the dark – 40 deputies from Lebanon’s anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, have been sealed off from the outside world. The members of the March 14 bloc fear for their lives after the assassinations of several of their colleagues, and have sought refuge in a Beirut hotel.

If four more of their group is lost, their majority becomes a minority, weakening their position ahead of next month’s presidential vote.

“The cleaners left the curtains open,” said one, “and that must never happen. We have to keep them closed at all times because of snipers. There’s no difference between day and night, we are always inside with the lights on.”

But some, like deputy Samir Frangié, have chosen to stay at home: “Its the first time we have found ourselves in this situation. On one side there are cold-blooded, determined assassins, who are only interested in numbers. It is not like one of us is more of a target than the other. We are determined to prevail.”

Syria denies involvement in the series of killings which began with the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005. Since then, seven other anti-Syrian figures have been murdered.