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Lebanese gather for protest against Hezbollah arms

Posted by on March 13, 2011 0 Comment

Beirut, March 13 (DPA) Supporters of outgoing Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri gathered in Beirut Sunday to protest the weapons arsenal held by the rival Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Buses loaded with followers Hariri’s March 14 alliance arrived in the capital from north, east and south Lebanon to participate in a rally held under the slogan: “End the Supremacy of Arms in Lebanon”.

“We want only the arms of the Lebanese army,” read banners carried by some protesters, who were also waving Lebanese flags.

Hezbollah was the only Lebanese political faction allowed to keep its weapons after the 1975-90 civil war. The group argues it needs them to defend Lebanon from possible Israeli attacks.

In 2008, Hezbollah militants seized most of Beirut, following week-long clashes with Hariri’s allies after the then western-backed government of premier Fouad Seniora tried to dismantle the group’s private telecommunications network.

Hariri announced last month that he is going into opposition, after his unity government collapsed when Hezbollah and its political allies pulled out of his cabinet after a dispute over the UN-backed tribunal, which is expected to indict Hezbollah members for the 2005 killing of his father, former premier Rafik Hariri.

Scores of people camped overnight at Martyrs Square, where the demonstration is being held. Security forces have been deployed to prevent violence.

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