Hezbollah-led opposition groups have called for mass protests to begin Friday in downtown Beirut with the aim of bringing down the Western-backed government.

The call for peaceful street action came in a statement broadcast Thursday on the television stations of Hezbollah and other opposition groups. It said the street action would begin on Friday at 3 p.m. (1300GMT) in downtown Beirut, where the embattled government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has its headquarters.

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The call for protests came after weeks of political tension between pro-Syrian groups in the opposition, led by the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, and anti-Syrian factions supporting the government, which has wide Western backing.