SIDON, Lebanon, April 12 (UPI) -- Pro- and anti-Hezbollah demonstrators gathered in Sidon, Lebanon, Friday, with supporters urging the government to resist pressure to disarm Hezbollah.
Soldiers stood guard outside a mosque where Sunni Sheik Hussam al-Ilani told a small group of demonstrators the government of Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam should support Hezbollah -- a militant Shiite movement is also known as the Party of God -- to help defend Lebanon from what they regard as Israeli aggression, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.
"Sidon is with the resistance's arms regardless of whether any one wants it or not," he said. "No one can disarm the resistance regardless of how loud their voices are and regardless of how much they protest."
Ilani was referring to Salafist Sheik Ahmad al-Assir, who Friday addressed hundreds of an anti-Hezbollah demonstrators at a mosque in Sidon, the newspaper said.
Assir has alleged Hezbollah members have occupied apartments in the town, using the vantage points to monitor his activities -- a claim Hezbollah has denied.
He told supporters Friday he will press his opposition to Hezbollah until "our dignity has been restored."
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned Assir's campaign would worsen sectarian conflict, with negative consequence for the town's economy.