updated 1/27/2008 3:31:15 PM ET 2008-01-27T20:31:15

Protesters angry about electricity rationing clashed with Lebanese troops Sunday in Beirut, and seven people were killed, hospital and security officials said.

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims opposed to the government rioted and burned tires, blocking some major roads in the Lebanese capital and its southern suburbs.

It was the worst rioting in the Beirut area in a year, since clashes between Sunnis and Shiites at a university cafeteria in January 2007 left four people dead. That incident prompted the army to declare the city's first curfew in more than a decade, since the end of the Lebanese civil war.

Sunday's violence was confined to mainly Shiite areas, and the army deployed in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent the unrest from spreading to nearby Sunni and Christian areas.

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