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Protesters force Lebanon's parliament to postpone session as Beirut deadlocked

PROTESTERS forced Lebanon’s parliament to postpone a planned session today as they blocked all roads in central Beirut.

Thousands thronged the streets and fought off riot police who sought to beat them back. One MP got his bodyguards to fire in the air to try to clear his way forward but was still forced to turn back.

There is now no cabinet in Lebanon following the resignation of prime minister Saad Hariri at the end of October. Tycoon Mohammed Safadi won approval from Establishment political parties to become the new PM this month but withdrew his name two days ago when news of the plan sparked even larger protests.

The Lebanese Communist Party said it would continue to mobilise “in all squares” for radical change and to oppose any stitch-up by the forces that make up Lebanon’s political elite, who run the country according to a “sectarian” political system that distributes powerful positions among different factions and is blamed for rampant corruption.

The existing system promised Lebanon “nothing but impoverishment and neglect, death, hunger and cancer,” the party declared, expressing confidence that the current uprising “transcends sects and regions, reflecting the qualitative leap achieved in the awareness of the people … breaking the restrictions of the prevailing thinking, continuing to rise up and sticking to their demands.”

It emphasised the participation of workers, unemployed people and students, “especially women, with tens of thousands leading the way in dismantling the system of male domination” and vowed to keep fighting to “restructure the foundations of political power.”

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