Hezbollah is undermining democracy in Lebanon by trying to torpedo a UN tribunal investigating the death of a former prime minister, members of the country's pro-Western bloc said Friday.
The statement comes as Lebanon endures its worst political crisis in years. Many observers fear there could be violence if Hezbollah members are indicted by the court, which was set up to prosecute the assassins of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"Lebanon as an entity and democratic country is in grave danger," said Amin Gemayel, a former president who spoke after a meeting of Christian politicians allied to Prime Minister Saad Hariri - the son of the slain leader.
Gemayel said Lebanon is being forced to choose between justice and peace.
Previously, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has called on the Lebanese to refuse to cooperate with the tribunal and has vowed never to hand anyone over for prosecution in the case. Nasrallah says the court is biased and has been poisoned by "false witnesses" who misled the investigation.
On Friday, the statement read by Gemayel urged President Michel Suleiman "to put an end to the duplicity of weapons and restrict the responsibility of defending Lebanon to the legitimate forces backed by the Lebanese people."
Strains on the government were being felt elsewhere as well on Friday. More than 1,000 people carrying anti-government banners protested rising living costs, including food and petrol price hikes, in the southern port city of Sidon.
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