In Lebanon, predominantly Moslem West Beirut and several towns were paralysed on Friday (31 August) by a protest strike marking the first anniversary of the disappearance of Iman Musa Sadr.
GV/TV Shi'ite procession through streets, waving hand guns from cars (2 SHOTS)
LV/CU Posters of Iman Moussa Sadr outside closed and shuttered shops (5 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR Newsmen attending Sheik Mohammed Mehdi Shamsheddin news conference
CU Sheik speaking in Arabic
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Lebanon, predominantly Moslem West Beirut and several towns were paralysed on Friday (31 August) by a protest strike marking the first anniversary of the disappearance of Iman Musa Sadr. The Iman, head of Lebanon's Supreme Moslem Shi'ite Council, and two companions disappeared after travelling to the Libyan Jamahiriyah. Shi'ites have accused the Libyans of responsibility for their disappearance, but the Jamahiriyah said the three men had left Libyan territory on August 31, 1978.
SYNOPSIS: The strike was called by Shi'ite leaders and was supported by a wide range of political and sectarian organisations. Finance Minister Ali al-Khalil suggested all Lebanese people should observe the anniversary because the disappearance of the Iman concerned everyone. Security men patrolled the main streets of Beirut, but despite some protestors brandishing weapons there was no trouble.
Shi'ite leaders met Premier Selim Hoss on Wednesday (29 August) to discuss the strike. Earlier in the day unidentified gunmen drove past the Libyan Embassy in West Beirut and opened fire on the building with machine guns. No one was injured. After Premier Hoss was assured the strike would be a peaceful one, he promised to bring up the Iman issue at the Havana summit of non-aligned countries. Sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shamseddin vice-president of the Higher Shi'ite Council said a peaceful strike was in keeping with the nature of the cause.