BEIRUT - If you can't beat them, join them.

Dozens of Lebanese, exasperated by rampant tire-burning protests across the country, rolled out tires and stopped traffic in the capital Beirut on Thursday.

Police armed with automatic rifles quickly deployed down the street, looking baffled at the small crowd raising the banner "We are tired", and blocking traffic with colorfully decorated tires. Angry motorists honked their horns.

Lebanon, politically fragile after a 1975-1990 civil war, has been plagued for weeks by almost daily demonstrations using burning tires to cut off main highways in to protest everything from political disputes to electricity cuts.

Laughing as the group quickly dispersed, the police officer in charge said: "I won't give them a ticket. We're all sick of this problem. And their tires are pretty."

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