Left-wing and right-wing militiamen fought mortar and machine gun duels in west Beirut on Wednesday (22 September), only hours before Central Bank Governor Elias Sarkis took the oath of office as the new President of Lebanon.
GV Wrecked buildings in west Beirut. (3 shots)
GV ZOOM TO Sandbags marking Falangist area.
CU Sandbags marking area.
GV ZOOM OUT FROM Falangist area during gunfire.
SV Red Crescent hospital and sign on wall. (2 shots)
SV INT. Women giving blood. (5 shots)
GV Sandbags outside medical centre. (3 shots)
GV Busy street scenes in Beirut and people in shopping. (3 shots)
Initials VS 17.40
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Background: Left-wing and right-wing militiamen fought mortar and machine gun duels in west Beirut on Wednesday (22 September), only hours before Central Bank Governor Elias Sarkis took the oath of office as the new President of Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: As the rumble of artillery fire echoed thorough west Beirut, rival radio stations report that fighting was continuing on all the major battlefronts. The fighting intensified with the approach of the inauguration of Mr. Sarkis and all attempts to arrange for a ceasefire to make Beirut safe enough for the swearing-in ceremony failed. As the death toll for one day of fighting reached 32 in Shiah, west Beirut, a decision was taken to hold the inauguration in Shtoura, a town about 25 miles (40 kms) east of the capital. The decision was also prompted by the shelling of a hospital in Shiah in which eight people were injured.
A newspaper appeal for blood donors resulted in only 14 people showing up at a Red Crescent hospital, most of them women. Up to a few hours before the President-elect's inauguration, unsuccessful attempts were made to negotiate a ceasefire and arrange a swearing-in ceremony in no-man's-land along the Beirut battlelines. Such a ceremony would have seemed a symbolic reaffirmation of national unity in a country that is three-fifths controlled by Syria and otherwise partitioned between the mainly-moslem leftists and the mainly-christian rightists. But with the fighting becoming heavier on the main Beirut battlefronts, the Speaker of Parliament announced the change of venue for the searing-in. In the meantime, however, the people of Beirut carried on their day to day activities as best they could.