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French Version


University Quarrel Develops to Spiraling Violence in Beirut

At least one person was killed and more than 30 were wounded in spiraling violence between pro and anti-government factions in Beirut Thursday.
Staccato bursts of gunfire echoed across the streets as tongues of flame shot up in the sky from dozens of deserted cars.

The sudden outbreak of violence started as a quarrel between students from the al-Moustaqbal movement of parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri and members of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal movement at Beirut Arab University.

Hariri, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Berri issued separate statements calling on their followers to practice restraint and withdraw from the streets.

Ambulances, their sirens wailing, sped across the streets evacuating casualties to Beirut's hospitals.

The state-run Lebanese University and other institutes suspended classes until Monday, in an effort to avoid the spread of violence.

The quarrel started around noontime at BAU and Amal tried to send reinforcements in mini busses from its stronghold in the district of Zokat Blatt to rescue their comrades besieged at the university's soccer stadium in the Sunni District of Tarik Jedideh.

Helmeted troops of the Lebanese Army moved into the BAU campus and opened fire in the air to disperse the mad crowd, said a student who was reached by Naharnet through his mobile telephone.

"The situation is very tense. Moustaqbal supporters are at the basketball stadium and Amal followers are at the soccer stadium. Both factions are separated by army troops," said the student who asked not to be identified.

Meanwhile, Residents of Tarik Jedideh, which is a stronghold for the Moustaqbal movement, rushed to back their student comrades, the student reported.

He said followers of both factions used sticks, bottles and even broke desks to use them are weapons in the confrontation.

beirut 25-01-2007
Naharnet
Naharnet



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