The opposition - a loose alliance of several parties - said that conditions in Lebanon will not re-stabilise unless a "national patriotic power" is born, through a fair and early parliamentary elections, "paving the way for a new era".

 

It also said the government had "belittled and scoffed at the massive, democratic, well-mannered and civilized protests and sit-ins in downtown Beirut," launched 1 December.

 

Along with Hezbollah, a mainly Shia movement, the Lebanese National Opposition is composed of Amal, another mainly Shia organisation and the Free Partiotic Movement led by General Michel Aoun, a Christian.  

 

Labour unions

 

Separately, Lebanon's powerful labor union federation on Saturday called on its 350,000-strong rank to strike against the prime minister's planned tax increase that are part of his economic reform program.

 

"Let's make January 23 a day of showing popular willpower and a day of protest against injustice and oppression," said the union, which has previously supported the Hezbollah opposition.

 

The calls for a general strike has come just days before the Lebanon donors conference in Paris on January 25, designed to attract foreign financial assistance.

 

The opposition has criticised the Paris conference, claiming the donor money and loans - which local analysts set around $ 5 billion - would only increase the national debt and further weaken the economy.