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Hundreds Protest Lebanon's Sectarian Government System


A woman shouts slogans as protesters behind her carry a banner condemning Lebanon's current sectarian system of government, Beirut, February 27, 2011

A woman shouts slogans as protesters behind her carry a banner condemning Lebanon's current sectarian system of government, Beirut, February 27, 2011

Hundreds of people protested in Lebanon Sunday against the country's sectarian political system.

The protesters in Beirut carried signs and chanted slogans calling for a secular government.

Lebanon's power-sharing system requires that the president be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shi'ite Muslim. Each religious group makes up about one-third of Lebanon's population.

The system is unlike many Arab countries where authoritarian regimes have ruled for decades. But the protest appeared to be inspired by the wave of uprisings across the Middle East. Protesters used the social networking website Facebook to help organize the event.

Sectarian tensions are running high in Lebanon because of a dispute concerning the investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

A U.N.-backed tribunal is expected to accuse members of the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah of involvement in the killing.

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

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