Sunday, December 03, 2006

Shiite sit-in brings a new flavor to Beirut

"BEIRUT — The massive sit-in staged by Hezbollah supporters so far has done little to dislodge the U.S.-backed government, but it has managed to turn the Lebanese capital inside out — literally.

"Some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the country, Shiite Muslims, have abandoned their homes in suburban slums to camp out on the nation's priciest bit of real estate. Though they often have trudged through Lebanese history as war refugees, now they have managed to displace Lebanon's wealthiest shop owners. They also have surrounded Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, barricaded in his office.

"The demonstrators are not the usual frequenters of Beirut's glitzy and freewheeling downtown. Their clothes are scruffier; their food is cheaper; out of modesty, virtually all women melt away before midnight. The men link arms and dance in the streets, wave Lebanese flags in a round-the-clock rally and hunch over backgammon boards.

"Mostly, they sit around and wait for the government to fall; they have vowed to stage escalating protests until Siniora and his ministers resign.

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

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