Banks and businesses re-opened in Beirut on Thursday (6 November) for the first time in more than three weeks and the city's people took advantage of the lull in factional fighting to go shopping or visiting friends.
GV Heavy traffic in Beirut.
GV Army directing traffic. (6 shots)
GV EXT. US Life Insurance Company Building.
GV INT Workers playing games and knitting. (6 shots)
SV Union spokesman making a statement.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 5: UNIONIST: "The board of the Insurance Sector Federation in Lebanon resents the decision made by American Life Insurance Company to terminate its employees and its original office in Beirut under the present circumstances, when such employees are in most need of their employers, for whom they served loyally for over 20 years. Creating unemployment at this stage adds to the social crisis which is more dangerous then the actual fighting in the long run."
Initials VS 17.25 VS 17.15
This film includes comments made by a Lebanese union official during the sit-in.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Banks and businesses re-opened in Beirut on Thursday (6 November) for the first time in more than three weeks and the city's people took advantage of the lull in factional fighting to go shopping or visiting friends.
The result was massive traffic jams on the main roads leading into the Lebanese capital.
After 11 false starts, the 12th ceasefire laboriously negotiated by Prime Minister Rashid Karami seemed to be having an effect. The shooting had stopped, bombing had been reduced to a low level and most of the private armies were withdrawn from the streets of the city.
But on Friday (7 November) the political crisis in Lebanon, where more than 2,000 people have been killed in seven months of intermittent civil war, deepened following a rift between Mr. Karami and the army high command.
Mr. Karami, who is also Defence Minister, said on Beirut Radio that the army had disobeyed his orders to stop a ship unloading weapons for right-wing political factions.
The incident brought into the open the dispute between Lebanon's Christian right-wingers and their largely Moslem left-wing opponents.
In the capital on Thursday, there was a crisis of a different nature in the financial field. American Life Insurance Company announced it was paying off its 130 employees. The office covers the entire Middle East and North Africa.
In protest the Lebanese employees staged a sit-in on the company's premises.