Lebanese pro-government politicians lashed out opposition's action of blocking roads across the country on Tuesday, describing it as a coup attempt, local media reported.
Opposition forces blocked several main roads in Beirut and other parts of the country with burned tires as part of a general strike to topple the incumbent government led by anti-Syria Prime Minister Foaud Seniora.
Samir Geagea, a leader of the Lebanese Forces, also accused the opposition of staging a coup, warning of chaos if troops continued to stand by watching.
"This has nothing to do with democracy or freedom. This has been transformed into a coup attempt. It is a revolt in every sense of the word," Geagea was quoted as saying.
He also accused the authorities of failing to fulfill their duty or collaborating by protecting the demonstrators instead of opening the roads and protecting citizens who want to go to work.
Army troops and security forces watched the demonstrators from a distance, mostly without interfering. In some instances, the troops moved in after the departure of the demonstrators to reopen the roads, the Lebanese Broadcast Corp. TV reported.
Likewise, government officials also described the disturbances as an attempted coup.
"It is one of the chapters of the putsch," Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh said, adding that "this will fail as in the past and the legitimate government of Lebanon will remain steadfast."
Hamadeh told the Dubai-based al-Arabiya television that the disturbances could last more than one day, warning that "patience is not unlimited."
During Tuesday's strike, dozens of people were injured when clashes broke out between pro- and anti-government supporters, local ANB TV reported.
Some officials expressed fear that the clashes could evolve into clashes among citizens.
Youth and Sports Minister Ahmed Fatfat told al-Arabiya that " the opposition is attempting a coup by force ... This is not a strike. This is military action, a true aggression, and I'm afraid this could develop into clashes between the citizens."
In addition, eight flights from Egypt, Oman, France, Kuwait, Bahrain, Germany and Qatar have been cancelled at Beirut airport as roads to the airport were blocked by Lebanese opposition protesters.
The airport remained operational, but few workers showed up and passengers were unable to get there or to leave, airport sources were quoted as saying.
Lebanese opposition alliance launched an open-ended sit-in in downtown Beirut on Dec. 1, 2006 to topple the Seniora government, declaring the anti-Syrian cabinet illegitimate and demanding early parliamentary elections and a new electoral law.
The Seniora government, backed by the March 14 parliamentary majority coalition, had rejected such calls and accused the Hezbollah-led protest of trying to obstruct the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.