Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Breaking News: Army Deploys - Tires Burn: Updated!

Update (11:50 pm):
Naharnet reports:

The opposition said in a statement broadcast on television stations that it "has decided to suspend the strike which served as a warning to the illegitimate government" of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. "From 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) until the evening, Lebanese of all different political tendencies and in all regions said 'no' to this illegitimate government," read the statement. "The ball is now in the court of those in power, who will be confronted by a new escalation if they insist on their ways," it warned.

There are reports emerging that opposition forces have begun removal of burned tires, cars, dirt and rubble mounds, as well as all 'blockading' debris from several roads, including that of the airport, tonight.
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Update (10:35 pm):
According to several news reports, prior to the pro-Syrian opposition's announcement of an to hostilities, several pro-government parties, politicians, and religious officials (among them the Mufti of Beirut - Lebanon's highest Sunni religious authority) had declared that unless the army adhered to standing government orders to keep the country's main thoroughfares free of blockage, residents of Beirut and the rest of the country would be forced to take matters in to their own hands in order to open roads blockaded by pro-Syrian rioters today.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports are emerging of continued clashes in the Cornishe - El Mazra3a district of Beirut between Sunni pro-government residents and Shiite opposition protesters.
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Update (9:55 pm):
Lebanese news agencies are reporting that the Pro-Syrian Opposition forces have called off further riots and road closures. The announcement comes after a meeting of the Pro-Syrian party officials called in order to coordinate further disruptive actions across the country and comes amid widespread popular resistance to those forces' widespread riots throughout the country today.
Opposition figures have stressed that today's actions, which resulted in 120 injured persons and at least 3 deaths, should be taken as a grave message by the government, adding "we are capable of far worse things".
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Update (7:45 pm): Images from a Country Under Seige:
(Click on photos to enlarge)


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Update (6:51 pm):

Sanyoura on the air!
  • Sanyoura warns that the current protests might lead to escalation
  • Sanyoura says he and the majority are open to dialogue
  • He says trhe goverment never refused Arab mediation
  • PM Sanyoura calls for moving the dialogue from the streets to the institutions and calls for opening a parliamentary session
  • He calls on rioters to think well about their actions especially in light of regional politics
  • End of news conference
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Update (5:51 pm):
Reports are emerging of numerous casualties among pro-government supporters fired upon by the Lebanese Army in the Jbeil district. Anti-Syrian ex-MP Fares Soueid has confirmed that it was the Lebanese Army that fired on him and his supporters earlier in the day. Lebanese news agencies are reporting several deaths in the Batroun and Tripoli regions of the country following confrontations between pro-Syrian militants and pro-government supporters.

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Update (5:15 pm):
Unconfirmed reports from opposition websites of checkpoints being setup across the Aley, Bhamdoun, and Baabda districts of the country by Phalange and Progresssive Socialist Party (PSP) partisans with the aim of preventing opposition partisans from reaching their gathering points.
Harsh criticism of the army's performance in this Hizballah-induced crisis continues to mount as reports emerge of deaths among shooting victims in Akkar. The PM will address the nation in approximately one hour (6:30 pm local time).

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Update (4:41 pm):
Reuter's News Video (don't mind the ad at the beginning)
Roundup:
  • 40 people injured (to date) including 25 with bullet wounds
  • Anti-Syrian MP Fares Soueid attacked by gunmen near Jounieh, escapes, 2 bodyguards wounded
  • Hizballah trucks dump rubble, tractor create earth mounts, along Highway to Airport effectively isolating it and forcing flight cancellations - Army does not intervene
  • Motorists attempting to cross blockades attacked by rioters, with stones, sticks, and assault rifles!
  • Prolonged confrontations in Cornishe-Mazra3a and Tareeq el Jdeedeh districts of Beirut
  • SSNP members are reported to have openned fire on commuters in Akkar (North) and Sofar regions. Numerous casualties reported.

Commentary by Blacksmith Jade:
It would appear that the army has started to open roads in Christian regions north of Beirut. This, following statements by the leaders of anti-Syrian Christian factions that the army is failing in its duty to protect those who which to go to work, and that if roads were not openned soon then the residents of the affected areas would have to take it upon themselves to open them. This has been a disgusting day in which militants have once again imposed their violent, minority will on a peace-loving nation.

To all you fools who have deluded yourselves into thinking that this is an expression of democracy, open your eyes, take another look at our blackened skies, rapidly filling hospitals, and burned out asphalt...then try looking up democracy in a dictionary.

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Update (9:41 am): More images from a Beirut under attack!



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I'm going to sleep (8:20 am local time), all readers and contributors are urged to post updates in the comments section. Comment moderation has been temporarily disabled to allow rapid posting of comments (try to keep it clean ;)).

Update (8:05 am local time):

Reports are emerging of burning cars and dumpsters along Lebanon's highways as protesters continue to block roads across the country. Local news stations are reporting the use of bulldozers by the opposition to move rubble onto roads in an effort to block them. There are also unconfirmed reports that tractors being used by security forces to clear roads have been attacked and burned by rioters.

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Update (7:40 am local time):

Both opposition and pro-government websites are reporting clashes between pro-Syrian protesters attempting to close roads and the pro-government supporters residing along those roads. So far there are unconfirmed reports of at least 2 persons wounded in Korba (Koura district) and the town of Masteeta (Jbeil district).

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Reports out of Lebanon are emerging of a massive army deployment along the country's main highways and traffic arteries as of 3:00 am local time.

The Free Patriot Movement (FPM) opposition website has disclosed a list of the roads, across the country, to be blocked by its supporters and their allies within the pro-Syrian opposition forces. This list is as follows:
  • Batroun Highway
  • Nahr el Kalb
  • Choueifat Highway
  • Majmaa Zein el Aabideen
  • Hadath (Al- Kafa'at)
  • Mar Mikhael
  • Hazmieh
  • Tareeq el Matar
  • Saleem Salam
  • Al Danawih
  • Beshara el Khoury
  • Mar Elias
  • Jnah
  • Raouche
  • Kameel Chamoun Boulevard
  • Jal el Deeb
  • Dora
  • Southern Highway to Saida
  • Zhogharta - Al 3aqba
  • Ehden - Bshareh Entrance
  • Akkar Highway
  • Sham Highway
  • Zahleh Highway
Detailed Map of Lebanon
(the FPM are already reporting the closure of these, and other, roads across the country, but these reports are so far unconfirmed)

For its part, the Lebanese Forces (LF) pro-government website has claimed that several roads into Beirut have been shut down by rioters burning tires. The website claims that the Internal Security Forces (ISF) has moved, and continues to move, on these blockages in order to remove them. They report difficulties in keeping the roads open, however, as protesters return to block roads after they've been open.

The LF website is also reporting confrontations between opposition rioters and supporters of the pro-government Future Movement (FM) residing in affected areas around Beirut, and specifically in the Tareeq el Matar district.

(In collaboration with Blacksmith Jade and Ib)
Pictures courtesy of Yahoo! News

22 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:24 AM

    March 14th Politicians:
    "Army allowing rioters to close roads"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Daily life normal in Tripoli (Lebanon's 2nd largest city)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Army tried to open road to airport but failed?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jimmy9:30 AM

    Welcome to your new Lebanon: Wars that destroy, sit-ins that starve, riots that burn.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous9:32 AM

    AlJazeera correspondent: FPM supoprters in Batroun did not have enough tires. so someone burned their own personal car.

    :D :D :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. From FPM for you :P9:33 AM

    Aljazeera reporting that 3 FPM members were shot by an unknown assailant who was captured by the army. Two of the injured are in critical condition.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Al-arabiya: some ppl tried to enter MP kinaan office

    ReplyDelete
  8. alarming?9:35 AM

    LBC (10:30 am): a lot of LF just came to NAHR alkalab in order to open the road and the army is between the 2 parties

    ReplyDelete
  9. alarming?9:49 AM

    sorry thats 9:30 am

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous9:50 AM

    In response to fierce criticisms from LF and other March 14ers, the army is now quickly moving to open roads in Christian areas. Water hoses and tractors used to remove demonstrators in Dora!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Opposition continues to RE-CLOSE roads after they are openned by the army, latest incidents in Hazmieh.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Incidents in Zalka. 3 wounded by gunfire in North. 1 critically

    ReplyDelete
  13. from fpm for you :P10:04 AM

    Eye witness account from LFPM.org team on the ground:
    Dora highway: the opposition supporters are facing the LFers and the army is doing a human shield between the 2.
    Fires were started again not to allow any road opening.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous10:08 AM

    beirut int'l airport is functioning normally and all airplanes are landing as scheduled. but passengers having trouble getting home (road still blocked)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous10:13 AM

    Hizballah MP Hussein Al Hajj Hassan:"what is happening today is nothing compared to other steps the opposition could take.I'm addressing Sanyoura,and hope he is listening".

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous10:16 AM

    (10:15 am) shooting incident in Saofar. At least 2 injured.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous10:16 AM

    opposition leaders threaten to keep protests going until friday

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous10:17 AM

    PSP MP, Akram Chehab accused Hassan Nasrallah of exporting terror from his Hizballah strongholds to the rest of Lebanon.

    ReplyDelete
  19. from fpm for you :P10:19 AM

    violent incidents in Sin el Fil

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous10:22 AM

    shooting incident reported in khaldeh :S

    ReplyDelete
  21. Renée C.11:13 PM

    I came to this blog from Michael J. Totten's blog. Thank you for your updates both here and there. My prayers are with the Lebanese people.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for your kind words renee c. and I hope you'll join us more often.

    ReplyDelete

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