UPDATE - Clashes Between Protesters, Police Resumed In Beirut Amid Anti-Government Protests


UPDATE - Clashes Between Protesters, Police Resumed in Beirut Amid Anti-Government Protests

BEIRUT (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 15th December, 2019) Lebanese security forces and the military are again using tear gas and rubber sticks against violent Shiite youths in the area of Martyr's Square in central Beirut, where an order has been briefly restored earlier in the day, an activist told Sputnik.

The clashes started earlier on Saturday, and law enforces managed to return calm by making a truce with rioters who had spent hours trying to break through barricades surrounding protest camps at Martyr's Square and Ring Bridge. Meanwhile, at the nearby street of Riad Al Solh peaceful marchers tried to get past security forces guarding the national parliament building.

"The police are using tear gas in large quantities. The army is getting into the crowd and beating with rubber sticks. The situation is getting worse. More activists are arriving, the police are being showered with stones, garbage cans have been overturned in some streets to prevent police cars from driving up to the barricades," the activist said.

The LBCI broadcaster reported later in the day, citing the country's civil defense, that a total of 54 activists were wounded in clashes with the Lebanese police in central Beirut, and tens of them were hospitalized. At the same time, the Lebanese Interior Ministry said that 20 policemen, including three officers, were also injured in the unrest.

Martyr's Square and Ring Bridge in central Beirut have become common gathering places for protesters in the nearly two month long streak of demonstrations. Largely peaceful and non-partisan, participants have witnessed several attacks from aggressive youths, often chanting slogans in support of Shiite paramilitary groups Hezbollah and Amal.

Lebanon has been on edge after mass protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis forced the government to resign in October. President Michel Aoun has been struggling to put together a new government.

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