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Lebanon protests over anti-Syria figures death

10-22-2012 11:17 BJT Special Report: Crisis in Syria |

CCTV Correspondent Kate Parkinson

Clashes broke out in downtown Beirut as protesters tried to storm into Government House, calling for the Primes Minister's resignation. The violence followed the funeral of Lebanon's security chief, Wissam al-Hassan, who was killed in a car bomb on Friday. His supporters blame his death on neighbouring Syria and say Lebanon's current government is too close to Damascus.

Security forces unleashed a barrage of gunfire and tear gas as angry protesters tried to storm government offices.

"Our Sunni bloody is boiling", they cried as they marched through the streets, calling for Prime Minister Najib Mikati's resignation, and describing his Hezbollah-led government as "a government of assassins".

Sunni leader and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaking from self-imposed exile, urged his supporters to stay calm.

But the assassination of al-Hassan - a staunch anti-Syria figure - has reignited Lebanon's divided and sectarian politics.

Chaotic scenes like this are a sign of the deep divisions here in Lebanon between those who are opposed to, and those who support the Syrian regime, and they are fuelling fears of a greater spillover of violence from Syria, and heightening speculation that Damascus is determined to export the conflict beyond its borders.

Earlier, as thousands gathered for al-Hassan's funeral, sorrow was mixed with anger and the finger of blame was pointed firmly in the direction of Syria and its allies.

Khaled Daher, Opposition MP, said,  "Those who assassinated Wissam al-Hassam are Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian regime and their allies in Lebanon - Hezbollah.  Honestly. Our message here today is to the government who are covering up for the killers and standing alongside Assad as he kills the Syrian people."

A day of mourning turned into a day of rage, and highlighted, once again, how the conflict ravaging Syria has the power to tear apart Lebanon's fragile political system. 

 

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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