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UPDATED: 20:32, November 02, 2006
Lebanese army deployed to thwart possible riots in Beirut: minister
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Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said that 20,000 Lebanese troops had been deployed across Beirut to thwart possible riots or siege of any public institution, local newspaper the Daily Star reported on Thursday.

"The Lebanese army will be on the lookout for anybody, any rebel or any side that attempts to benefit from the would-be demonstrations or sit-ins by causing unrest," Murr said in a Wednesday interview with Future television.

Murr's statement came a day after Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah warned of street demonstrations if the round-table dialogue failed to produce a national unity government, a key demand by Lebanon's Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies.

The defense minister said that the military "would do what it has to do even if the government did not ask them to do so."

Murr also warned that the Lebanese army will "prevent the siege of any public institution, be it the prime ministry or the parliament ... or the presidential headquarters."

"Let no one fear riots because the army, which now numbers 60, 000, has 20,000 of its special forces deployed in Beirut," Murr assured the Lebanese.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has called for the resumption of the stalled national talks among Lebanon's rival leaders to consider a national unity government and the adoption of a new electoral law to end the political stalemate.

The dialogue, which was first set for Oct. 30, has been postponed until Monday, on Nov. 6, because of the absence of several top anti-Syrian leaders.

Source: Xinhua

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