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Lebanon in mourning after deaths in street clashes

 Lebanon in mourning after deaths in street clashes
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Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has declared a national day of mourning in memory of those killed when a protest at the weekend turned violent. Crowds of protesters in Beirut had ignored calls to disperse and remained on the streets of the Lebanese capital well after darkness fell.

Officials say at least eight government opposition supporters were killed in the clashes between civilians and the Army.

The fighting broke out in the southern neighborhood of Mar Makhael when a man was shot dead by troops trying to control a demonstration against power cuts by supporters of the Amal group.

The military, seen as neutral in the country’s ongoing political crisis, had fired in the air to disperse the protest.

Several soldiers were wounded when demonstrators threw stones as they tried to break-up the protests.

The Amal movement is part of a pro-Syrian opposition alliance that’s been locked in a simmering power struggle for more than a year with the Western-backed anti-Syrian government.

Its leadership said it had no link to the disturbances and urged those involved come off the streets. Despite the appeal for calm violence was later reported in southern Shi’ite villages and the eastern Bekaa valley.