Angry rallies block Beirut roads in protests against power rationing

Dozens of angry protesters blocked roads in two areas of a southern Beirut suburb, rallying Monday against an increase in electricity rationing and price hikes for gasoline and diesel, security officials said. The protesters burnt tires in Kafaat and Musharrafiyeh, where they blocked two main roads for about an hour before security forces and military troops intervened to disperse them and restore calm in the heavily populated neighborhoods, the officials said. The protests came as Lebanon is embroiled in its worse political crisis since the end of the 1975-90 civil war. President Emile Lahoud left office on November 23 without a successor, and parliament has so far failed to elect the army chief to replace him amid bickering between the parliament majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition.