Heavy gunfire erupted in central Beirut on Sunday after protesters tried to storm the offices of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, demanding that he quit over the assassination of a top intelligence official.
Reuters reported an official saying that security forces had fired in the air.
Witnesses said at least two protesters had fainted, apparently as a result of tear gas fired by security forces after protesters breached an outer barrier around the prime minister’s offices.
Hundreds of protesters, waving flags from the anti-Syrian opposition Future Movement – a mainly Sunni Muslim party – and Christian Lebanese Forces as well as black Islamist flags, marched on Mikati’s offices after the funeral of Wissam al-Hassan.
They accused Syria of being behind Hassan’s killing and called for Mikati to resign.
The chaotic scene in Lebanon’s capital on Sunday comes in the midst of a funeral for a top intelligence official who was killed in a massive car bombing that many blame on the regime in neighboring Syria.
MILAN — Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, who has dodged corruption trials and no-confidence votes with the skill of an Olympic athlete, faced a potentially fatal challenge to his power Tuesday when a judge ordered him tried on prostitution and abuse of power charges.
Berlusconi is going on trial April 6 in Milan on charges that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl and then tried to cover it up. Berlusconi has stood trial on a number of business-related charges, but this is the first time the 74-year-old billionaire businessman is being tried for personal conduct.
Mohamed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian prime minister, has announced that the former defence, foreign, interior and finance ministers will keep their key posts in the new national unity government formed after the toppling of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as president.
But the announcement of the new interim government on Monday stated that a number of opposition members will also be assigned to ministerial posts.
Ghannouchi has named Najib Chebbi, founder of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) which opposed Ben Ali, as minister of regional development.
Opposition leaders Ahmed Ibrahim and Mustafa ben Jaafar have also been given ministerial posts.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Ghannouchi’s office in Tunis, said that a list of the new cabinet ministers has been released and that a senior diplomat told him that the new government consisted of “quite a lot of the old guard and not so much of the new”.
Bays said that there was a considerable amount of anger among the Tunisian press as Ghannouchi, Ben Ali’s right-hand man in the Constitutional Democratic Rally (CRD), refused to answer questions after issuing the statement on the new government.