Fighting subsided in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Wednesday (31 December) as the bloodstained old year dragged out.
GV Strong seas off Lebanon coast. (5 shots)
GV Near deserted streets. (2 shots)
SV Woman with umbrella walking along road.
SV Armed men behind barricades.
GV Gunmen behind barricades and buildings. (4 shots)
SV AND GV Armed men walking along road and behind sandbags. (3 shots)
SV People in Market Place. (2 shots)
SV People milling about in front of stalls.
LV AND SV Traffic and New Years Eve shoppers in Hamra Street. (3 shots)
"For the past three days a powerful Mediterranean storm has raked the coast of Lebanon. The gale force winds and heavy rain have accomplished what Lebanese politicians and visiting foreign mediators have been unable to do; bring at least a temporary respite to the bitter political and religious warfare that has killed more than seven thousand people in the past eight months. But the barricades and sandbag positions separating the Moslem and Christian neighbourhoods remain in palace manned in some areas by small groups of armed men. There's occasional small arms fire. But it's nothing like the machinegun and mortar battles that have rocked Beirut and much of Lebanon since last Spring. The Lebanese Government has appealed to all the warring factions to observe yet another officially proclaimed ceasefire. Saying that this latest call for a truce should be fully in effect by Friday, 2 January. At the same time the Government has promised to work towards giving Moslems a greater voice in the Christian dominated politics of Lebanon."
According to the ceasefire, the warring factions had agreed to pull all armed milia off the streets by two p.m. on New Years Eve. But as the deadline passed, the police said there had been only a partial withdrawal. But in several parts of the city, the streets were nearly back to normal.
Hundreds of people went out into the bright sunshine of New Years Eve to shop at markets like this, at the seafront, where most of the fighting had been concentrated.
Hamra Street, the main street of the city, was full of New Year shoppers who took advantage of the pull-back of the gunmen from the city centre. In other parts of the commercial centre, traffic jams built up as more shops opened.
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(EDITOR'S NOTE: This film is serviced with part English commentary. A transcript appears overleaf).
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Fighting subsided in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Wednesday (31 December) as the bloodstained old year dragged out. its last hours.
Warring factions had agreed to pull all armed militia off the streets by 2 p.m. (local time), but as the deadline passed police said there had been only a partial withdrawal.
In several parts of the city, the streets were nearly back to normal, with traffic jams building up as many more shops opened.
Sniping continued into the afternoon in the city centre and on the borderline between the Christian and Moslem districts.
At least 7000 people have bene killed in the bitter political and religious warfare in the past eight months, making 1975 one of the bloodiest in the nation's history.
On both sides the militia had thinned out their forces and most of the men still on duty had hidden their weapons in nearby houses ready for instant action.
But there were still many armed men visible, and security forces, out in strength, took no action to implement government threat that they would fire at any armed men seen in the streets after 4 p.m.