Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2020

Smoke and violence in Beirut as Lebanese protests continue after new government formed (VIDEOS)

The streets of Beirut filled with smoke and echoed with shots, as demonstrators faced off against riot police in the Lebanese capital. The formation of a new government has failed to quell public anger.

An agreement reached between Hezbollah and its allies in parliament made Hassan Diab the new prime minister, and created a fresh cabinet consisting of 20 members. Yet protesters continued to throng the streets of Beirut into Wednesday night, raging at corruption, unemployment, spiralling national debt, and inadequate public services, as well as the web of sectarian alliances that traditionally dominates Lebanese politics. 

Riot police in armored vehicles attempted to clear the streets, and engaged in running battles with demonstrators. Multiple arrests can be seen in video footage captured by RT’s video news agency, Ruptly.

Clouds of tear gas filled the streets, and what sounds like the fire of non-lethal weapons can be heard echoing over the crowds.

Protesters shot fireworks at lines of police, while the police responded with riot control weapons. Masked crowds were also seen dismantling barricades and lighting fires. At least one protester can be seen being punched and kicked by officers.

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Protests against the dire economic situation have been ongoing for several months now, and led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in October. 

However, the appointment of Diab’s new cabinet only stoked further violence, with rubber bullets and water canon deployed against stone-throwing rioters on the day of the announcement.

Protesters say that Diab’s cabinet is made up of political appointees rather than the independent technocrats the country needs to solve its political and economic woes.

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©REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Hour of reckoning looms for Lebanon as violent anti-government protests hit Beirut

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