| BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Supporters of Lebanon's caretaker prime minister clashed with troops Tuesday during protests of Hezbollah's nomination of a successor to Saad Hariri.
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Demonstrations pocked the country, marked by thousands gathering in Tripoli and along the highway between Beirut and Sidon to the south, al-Jazeera satellite television reported Tuesday. Street rallies turned into standoffs with the Lebanese army, but no deaths were reported and the army said the skirmishes were contained by nightfall, Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported.
Supporters of Hariri's Western-backed Future Movement called for the "day of rage" as the candidacy of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati seemed to gain legs, CNN reported. Iranian-backed Hezbollah endorsed Mikati for the prime minister post and to head a new government.
A witness said an al-Jazeera transmission truck was burned in Tripoli and journalists assigned to cover Tripoli were attacked when they emerged from their office. Al-Jazeera reported the journalists escaped.
Tensions heightened as President Michel Suleiman met with Parliament about who should be Lebanon's next prime minister, a major marker for reorganizing the country's government after its collapse two weeks ago.
Hezbollah officials said Tuesday Mikati has 65 votes, which is enough to name him prime minister, CNN said. Since Suleiman was consulting members of Parliament, however, the tally was not official.
Lebanon's political parties are scrambling to form a new governing coalition after resignations by 11 ministers from Hezbollah and its allies brought down the Hariri-led administration. The crisis was fueled by a dispute about a U.N. tribunal's investigation into the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah opposes the tribunal, which has fingered several members of the militant group in the assassination. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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