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Opposition Calls Off Protests That Paralyzed Lebanon


Opposition leaders in Lebanon say they are calling off a general strike that paralyzed the country Tuesday and sparked violent clashes.

The opposition - led by the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah - says Tuesday's strike delivered a warning to Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. The opposition has been trying to topple his government.

Police say three people were killed and 133 people were wounded in clashes involving security forces, government supporters and opposition protesters Tuesday. And clouds of black smoke hung over Beirut after protesters burned tires to block roads.

Earlier, Mr. Siniora warned the opposition against attempts to disrupt public order, and vowed to stand firm against the protests.

A top opposition leader and Hezbollah ally, General Michel Aoun, blamed the government and its supporters for the violence.

The United States expressed concern over the protests in Lebanon, and called on all parties to exercise restraint and use peaceful and constitutional means to debate the political issues before them.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Lebanese factions allied with Syria are trying to use violence, threats and intimidation to impose their political will on Lebanon.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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