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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 12:17 GMT
Warning of new Lebanon protests
Cleaning up the motorway to Beirut's airport
Blocked roads are a reminder of Tuesday's clashes
Lebanon is returning to normal after a nationwide anti-government strike led by the Hezbollah faction, but the group has warned of more action to come.

Bulldozers cleared debris from Beirut streets after fighting that saw three people killed and 100 injured.

But Hezbollah and its allies threatened even more dramatic steps if they were not granted a government role.

There was no indication that any deal was reached to end the strike, leaving Lebanese fearful of a new flare-up.

Sectarian tensions

The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says people in the city are well aware that there could still be worse to come.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, has been campaigning since the beginning of December to replace the Western-backed cabinet with a government in which it would have a veto.

Lebanon protester in front of burning tyres

But Prime Minister Fouad Siniora still enjoys strong support from his loose alliance of Sunni Muslims, Christians and Druze, and is backed by powerful outside players, including the US, France and Saudi Arabia.

Our correspondent says that although there has been no explicit statement as to why the strike was lifted, Beirut newspapers suggest Saudi Arabia and Iran may have intervened to reduce sectarian tensions.

Any such development, he says, would be an encouraging sign in a region where sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia have been rising sharply.

Scorched roads

Many Lebanese found themselves unable to go to work on Tuesday as businesses were closed, roads blocked and flights cancelled.

Views from Beirut after Lebanon's violent general strike

The strike then turned violent as opposition and government supporters fought in the streets, burning barricades, throwing stones and exchanging gunfire.

Roads around the country were cleared by sunrise, though, after bulldozers took to the streets at night to clear away the burnt remnants of tyre barricades.

Beirut's international airport re-opened on Wednesday morning, reports said.

But the scorched roads and traces of broken glass were a reminder of a traumatic day which people will not be quick to forget, our correspondent says.

The opposition is demanding a big enough share in government to give them veto power over any decisions they do not like - a step the Western-backed government has not been willing to take.

Mr Siniora has said he will stand firm against what he called "intimidation" and government officials insist they have made no concessions to persuade the opposition to back down.






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