Hizbullah joins unions in anti-gov't protest

Lebanon's Hizbullah-led opposition joined labor unions on Tuesday in a protest against tax increases proposed by embattled Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, stepping up pressure to force the government into resigning. The demonstration outside the Finance Ministry's taxation department in central Beirut was called for by labor unions after Saniora proposed to increase taxes as part of a government economic reform plan ahead of an international donors' conference in Paris later this month. But what started as purely labor demands quickly turned into another political battle between the opposition and the government, further deepening political divisions and even splitting the labor unions. Pro-government labor groups stayed away from Tuesday's sit-in, while the Hizbullah-led opposition decided to escalate its ongoing street protests to bring down the government.