As Hezbollah supporters seeking to overthrow Lebanese Prime Minister entered the thirteenth day of protest on Wednesday, incumbent leader Fuad Saniora pushed ahead with a United Nations (UN) plan to try suspects in the assassination of a former prime minister.
On Tuesday evening Saniora called a cabinet meeting to confirm its approval of the plan, that would seek to establish an international tribunal to try those accused of the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.
Lebanese politicians are sharply divided along pro and anti-Syrian lines over establishing the tribunal as the UN probe believes several Lebanese pro-Syrian generals are among those involved in the incident.
The Shiite Muslim Hezbollah oppose moving ahead with the tribunal, saying the government must first be reshuffled to give it and its allies more power.
Six ministers from the Shiite Muslim group and its allies resigned from the cabinet in November because they were not granted effective veto power.
The cabinet's decision to approve the trial represents another challenge to the Hezbollah-led opposition that began an open-ended protest on December 1 in Beirut.
Saniora, who has Western and Arab support, has repeatedly refused to resign and has been living at his downtown offices for more than a week.
The office is surrounded by riot police, troops in armoured vehicles and barbed wire.
Meanwhile Arab League chief Amr Moussa was trying on Wednesday to defuse Lebanon's political and sectarian tensions that threaten to tear the country apart.
Moussa, who arrived in Beirut on Tuesday, has met with some of the major leaders involved in the crisis, including Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.
The pro-government factions and the United States have accused Hezbollah's two main sponsors - Syria and Iran - of seeking to overthrow the government.
Hezbollah retorts that Saniora acts on behalf of Washington.