Monday, January 22, 2007
"Lebanon is preparing for a general strike Tuesday called for by the Lebanese National Opposition and responded to by the majority of the labor powers and trade associations in most of the country.
While the motives of those in favor of the strike varied between political and economic, monitors expected that Tuesday's move will lead to the largest general strike to be witnessed in Lebanon.
The country and its capital Beirut will once again be the focus of media and political assessment to determine the ability of the opposition to act and influence. Tuesday move will begin with the strike and will also see other steps taken when announced by the opposition. No doubt that the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora and his ruling bloc will be under heavy pressure 52 days after the opposition began its open sit-in to demand a national unity government.
Saniora on Monday urged the Lebanese to ignore the strike, accusing the opposition of trying to "sabotage" a major donor conference for Lebanon this week.
Opposition Key figure MP Michel Aoun, lashed out at the head of the so called ruling majority MP Saad Hariri saying that "Harirism is a noose that should be cut." For his part, the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc MP Mohamad Raad said: "It won't be the last option nor will it be a decisive day, it is a day to ring a new bell announcing that the country has reached a dangerous stage and that the government has to let go of authority and listen to the people and accept power-sharing." He added the opposition "will not take the country to a dangerous situation or affect its unity and coexistence," but Raad also said that if the strike does not bring about change then the opposition would resort to other options. No elaboration was given as to those options.
Opposition leader and former Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh said that the opposition will show the government "something they have never seen before," adding that Tuesday will be a decisive day."