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Lebanon police tear-gas anti-PM protest at funeral 22 октября 2012, 11:28

Lebanese police clashed with protesters trying to storm the prime minister's office in Beirut, amid calls for him to quit after a top security official was killed by a car bomb blamed on Syria.
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Lebanon police tear-gas anti-PM protest at funeral Lebanon police tear-gas anti-PM protest at funeral
Lebanese police clashed with protesters trying to storm the prime minister's office in Beirut, amid calls for him to quit after a top security official was killed by a car bomb blamed on Syria, AFP reports. Officers fired into the air and used tear gas to repel the demonstrators in the hours following the funeral on Sunday of General Wissam al-Hassan. The event had been billed as an opportunity to protest against Syrian meddling in Lebanon but the mood quickly turned to anger at Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose government is dominated by pro-Syria parties. More than 15 members of the security forces were injured in the clashes with protesters outside the Serail, the prime minister's office, according to a statement on Mikati's website. During funeral orations for the slain police intelligence chief, angry former premier Fuad Siniora called on Mikati to resign, adding his voice to many others since Hassan and two others were killed and 126 wounded on Friday. Siniora, a leading member of ex-premier Saad Hariri's opposition bloc, said the government was responsible for the death of Hassan and his driver and should go. After Siniora spoke, a man mounted the podium and cried: "Enough speeches, let's charge the Serail." A policeman told AFP around 200 "young people headed towards the building in the city centre, but security forces blocked them by firing into the air and using tear gas." Just hours after the funeral in central Beirut, heavy gunfire could be heard in a Sunni district of west Beirut. Despite calls for him to quit, Mikati has said he will stay on, at President Michel Sleiman's request, to avoid a "political vacuum" in volatile Lebanon. The opposition has widely blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for Friday's attack in the mostly Christian district of Ashrafieh. It also holds him responsible for the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, killed in a huge Beirut blast. A banner on Sunday proclaimed "Two states, one revolution," an allusion to the 19-month rebellion in Syria that has cost more than 34,000 lives. After a military ceremony at Internal Security Forces (ISF) headquarters, the bodies of Hassan, 47, and his chauffeur were transported to Martyrs' Square. After the funeral at the huge Al-Amine Mosque, Hassan was buried in the mausoleum of his mentor, Rafiq Hariri, whose death sparked an outcry that forced Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon after three decades of occupation. The investigation into his death, led by Hassan, pointed the finger at Damascus. -- 'A martyr for truth and justice' -- -------------------------------------- Simmering tension from the Syria conflict has erupted into deadly fighting this year in Lebanon, where the Mikati government is dominated by pro-Damascus parties such as Hezbollah and its allies. In the premier's hometown of Tripoli a girl was killed on Sunday, caught in crossfire between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, a medical official told AFP. A security official earlier said eight people were wounded. A Sunni cleric was killed in Lebanon's second city overnight Friday, also in crossfire. An AFP correspondent said tension remained high in Tripoli, where armed men cruised the city in convoys and opened fire indiscriminately. Lebanese troops deployed around Mikati's Tripoli home as an opposition MP from Saad Hariri's parliamentary bloc pitched two tents near the residence, backed by dozens of supporters. Elsewhere, young men angered by Hassan's murder, some of them armed, cut off roads in the central Bekaa valley and along the coastal highway to south Lebanon. Earlier, Martyrs' Square was dotted with huge billboards praising Hassan and calling him "a martyr for truth and justice." Many people carried the flags of Lebanon and Hariri's Future movement, while some waved the Syrian revolutionary flag. Tamam Ali, a 27-year-old Future activist, warned: "It's not just today. We were here yesterday and we'll be here tomorrow and in the future. "First of all, we want the fall of this government. We want the Syrian embassy kicked out and we want an end to Hezbollah's power of arms." Hezbollah's militia never disarmed after the devastating 1975-90 civil war and is Lebanon's most powerful armed force. Mikati has linked Hassan's murder to evidence implicating former minister Michel Samaha, arrested in August. Samaha is suspected of planning attacks to provoke sectarian strife in Lebanon at Syria's behest. The ISF played a key role in that investigation. The United States, which has condemned Hassan's assassination, on Sunday offered its help in the search for his killers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke by phone with Mikati, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

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