Student clash ends in killings

February 2, 2007

A verbal argument between students at the Beirut Arab University last week turned violent, spreading out on to the streets and leaving two students dead and more than 160 students and protesters wounded.

Students from the Sunni Muslim, pro-Government Future movement clashed with students from the anti-Government Shiite Muslim Amal party at Beirut Arab University's cafeteria.

The clash came two days after thousands of Lebanese took to the streets as part of a strike by the opposition, led by Hizbullah, that left four dead and more than 60 wounded.

According to reports, the argument at the university spiralled out of hand, with sticks, bottles and broken furniture used in the fight.

The Amal supporters took refuge in a football stadium, while Future movement supporters fought off Amal supporters at the basketball stadium.

The army fired live rounds into the air to disperse students.

But with the country already tense from months of protests, the violence spilled into surrounding areas as hundreds of young men armed themselves with metal bars, bicycle chains and batons. Three people were shot dead, including two students.

There were also clashes at the Lebanese University, forcing it to close for the day. Other universities also closed. The American University of Beirut said it was lucky it was between semesters so there were no students on campus.

As a result of the riots, Khaled Qabbani, the Education Minister, cancelled classes at all public and private universities until Monday in an attempt to avoid the violence spreading.

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