Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lebanon opposition to stage national protest strike Tuesday


"The Lebanese opposition called Saturday for a one-day general strike, stepping up a protest campaign to bring down the Western-backed government that has paralyzed the nation's leadership for weeks. The stoppage called for Tuesday marked the first escalation by the opposition since its supporters began an open-ended sit-in around government offices in central Beirut on December 1 to demand a national unity cabinet.

"In the face of the obstinacy of the government barricaded behind the walls of the Grand Serail, the opposition calls on its supporters to step up their peaceful and democratic protests and on all Lebanese to observe a general strike on Tuesday," an opposition statement said. The action was announced the day after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed that the opposition would be taking more action to see that its demands are met. The immediate target of the industrial action, which was first announced by the trade union confederation, was an austerity package unveiled by the government earlier this month ahead of a major donors' conference in Paris on Thursday.

"In accordance with its peaceful plan of action against the reforms proposed by the prime minister, the General Conference of Workers of Lebanon is calling a general strike for Tuesday... to put an end to the savage cuts being put forward," a statement said.

But the opposition stressed that the strike was just one part of its campaign for a revision of Lebanon's electoral law and the holding of fresh parliamentary elections."

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