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French Version


Lebanon minister quits over cartoon riots

Lebanon's Interior Minister Hassan Sabeh announced his resignation on Sunday after a mob attacked the Danish consulate in Beirut in riots sparked by controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons.

Almost 30 people were injured as furious crowds stormed and set ablaze the building housing the Danish consulate, despite the presence of riot police who had initially used tear gas and batons to keep protestors at bay.

"I submitted my resignation to the government after criticisms were raised," Sabeh said after an extraordinary cabinet meeting.

He said he had refused to give security forces the order to fire on the protestors because "I did not want to be responsible for any carnage.

"Despite the intervention of more than 1,000 members of the security forces, we were unable to impose order because of the determination of the protestors, who numbered several thousands."

The Lebanese violence erupted the day after a similar attack on the diplomatic missions of Denmark and Norway in neighbouring Syria.

The offending caricatures, which included depictions of the Muslim prophet as a knife-wielding bedouin and another as wearing a time bomb-shaped turban, have sparked widespread protests across the Muslim world.

Beirut 06-02-2006
Redaction
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