Continued from page 1

Mr. Mikati is expected to form a government that will meet Hezbollah’s demands that Lebanon cease all cooperation with and funding for the court, and remove the Lebanese judges.

Tripoli’s protesters broke into the office of a Hezbollah-allied party Tuesday and threw furniture out the windows. They burned the furniture in the streets. Many in the crowd cheered, while others stared.

Soldiers fired multiple rounds of warning shots as rioters moved on to a building associated with the Syrian Nationalist Party, another Hezbollah ally. The crowd fled, only to return moments later.

The Lebanese army had been on the scene since several men seized a truck belonging to Al Jazeera earlier in the day. The men ripped apart the truck and torched it while soldiers watched and kept the crowd away from the billowing fire.

The Lebanese army also is divided along sectarian lines and was ordered not to intervene, according to locals. They said many of the soldiers agreed with the protesters in this mostly Sunni city.

The Lebanese Constitution requires the prime minister to be a Sunni, the president a Christian Maronite and the speaker of parliament a Shiite. Each denomination accounts for about one-third of the country’s 4 million people.

But for many Sunnis, the fact that Shiite Hezbollah supports Mr. Mikati, a Sunni, makes him a traitor.

“I came here for Saad al-Hariri,” said Ziad Abdullah, an 18-year-old wearing a blue scarf around his head as a sign of his support for the Future Movement, the party of the ousted prime minister. “Because he is Sunni, and I am Sunni.”

The Lebanese army eventually did intervene by parking tanks around a building targeted by rioters. In the hours that followed, local news sources reported multiple shots fired and heightened military efforts to disperse the crowd.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah blamed March 14, the political coalition of Saad Hariri, for inciting violence by refusing to work with the new government.

Hezbollah and its allies in the March 8 alliance call Mr. Mikati a “consensus candidate,” while March 14 says he is a Hezbollah candidate.

“Saying that [Mr. Mikati] is Hezbollah’s candidate is sectarian incitement,” Mr. Nasrallah said, according to the local news source Naharnet.

As the protests were reported to subside, Mr. Mikati, who was prime minister of a caretaker government for about four months in 2005, reached out to Mr. Hariri publicly.

“I can’t sever the relation with Hariri,” Mr. Mikati said, according to local news reports. “And after he calms down, he’ll know that I’m one of the closest people to him.”

It is, however, common for Lebanese politicians to offer cooperation without compromise on the issue of the international tribunal, for which Mr. Hariri repeatedly has vowed his support.