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Ni dieu ni maître. Ni patrie, ni patron.
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international | anti-war / imperialism | feature Saturday May 10, 2008 01:04 by PaulaG and the indy collective
As reports come in from Lebanon, an indy.ie correspondent is sending in on the ground, first hand reports The General Strike started on May 7th when unions called for a strike to increase the minimum wage from 300,000 Lebanese pounds to 960,000 due to inflation in food and fuel prices. That's an increase from $200 per month to just over $600 per month, the Government offered a mere $100 of an increase. It was then revealed that Hizbollah had their own telecommunications network and the government demanded that they shut it down. There was to be a big demonstartion for the 7th but there were rumours that pro government militia snipers were goung to attack the demonstration and protests at the airport road so the unions backed down. However the strike went ahead and the usually intensely manic streets were empty of traffic.
Roadblocks appeared all over Beirut formed by opposition groups including Hizbollah and Amal forces. The worst fighting happened along a main artery into Beriut at Corniche al Mazaraa and at Rasa al nabeh, we got caught in some of the gun battles there. The opposition militias are incredibly organised and have armed men on nearly every street corner of a contested site. What is incredible is the absolute lack of control the government has. On one side of a roadblock would be youths and the other Lebanese army forces with tanks but the army is not interfering. Checkpoints can be police, army, Amal, Hizbollah or Harriri supporters but they all wave you through. being Irish and not American is a real bonus. The normaility of life is continuing on in some areas, binmen are still collecting some bins, rubbish piling up in other areas.