Socialist Worker

Lebanon erupts at rising prices

by Lebanese socialists
Issue No. 1904

Rising petrol prices sparked protests in Beirut in Lebanon last week, where six demonstrators were killed by the army in the suburb of Hayy El Seloum in the south of the city. The army tried to disperse a protest led by taxi drivers by shooting live ammunition in the air. Protesters retaliated by throwing stones. The army then opened fire, killing protesters.

Hayy El Seloum, an impoverished neighbourhood in the area of Beirut dominated by the Islamic group Hezbollah, was later declared a military zone. The protests followed a general strike organised by the General Labour Confederation against rising fuel prices. After the killings, union officials and Hezbollah MPs appealed for calm.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah condemned the shootings, but said the US embassy was behind the violence. Demonstrators burned down the Labour Ministry and blocked several roads with burning tyres. Ba'albek in the Beqaa Valley also saw demonstrations in solidarity with the Hayy El Seloum protesters.

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Sat 5 Jun 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1904
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