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Lebanese government cracks down on opposition

Issue No. 2087

A Lebanese judge has ordered the arrest of three officers and eight soldiers for gunning down eight people in the southern suburbs of Beirut last week.

The soldiers opened fire on a crowd who were protesting against continuing power cuts. Over 30 were wounded.

The US-backed government ordered the army into the capital to crush a national strike by transport workers and farmers over inflation and the price of fuel.

The soldiers were ordered into the poor suburbs several days later to put an end to demonstrations.

The government is denying Shia Muslim areas electricity as punishment for their opposition to the ruling March 14 coalition. Similar demonstrations have been taking place in poor Christian neighbourhoods.

According to the United Nations, “Villages in Shia-majority south Lebanon and the eastern Bekaa Valley regularly have their electricity cut after 6pm, but in recent months cut-offs were extended to Beirut.”

Witnesses say that the soldiers were backed by right wing Lebanese Forces.

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Tue 5 Feb 2008, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2087
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