Published On: Sun, Jan 19th, 2020

Water cannon, tear gas & scores injured as Lebanese protesters clash with police (VIDEOS)

Police in Lebanon tackled protesters with water cannons and tear gas, while demonstrators hurled stones and debris back at law enforcement, as unrest on the streets of Beirut escalated into violence on Sunday.

Footage from the scene shows protesters and police clashing with each other on smoke-filled streets in downtown Beirut. Some of the protesters reportedly tried to force their way into the parliament, with police attempting to force them to disperse by using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Graphic images purportedly showing injuries from rubber bullets have been shared online. The Lebanese Red Cross tweeted that a dozen of its teams were responding to the protests, adding that “30 people have been transported, until now, to nearby hospitals and 40 have been treated at the scene.”

Sunday’s unrest comes a day after President Michel Aoun called on the military to intervene as fierce clashes broke out between protesters and police.

Over 370 people were injured in Saturday’s riots, according to figures compiled by the Lebanese Red Cross and Civil Defense, with the Internal Security Forces (ISF) saying some 142 police were among the wounded. 

“We’re not scared. This is all for our future and our children,” shoemaker Bassam Taleb told Reuters at the protest. “The country is frozen. The state is not doing a thing, they’re a bunch of thieves. And if you have money in the bank, you can’t even get a hundred dollars out.”

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Demonstrations broke out in Beirut and other Lebanese cities in October amid rising discontent with the country’s failing economy, state corruption and the political leadership, prompting Saad al-Hariri to resign as prime minister. 

This weekend’s clashes come as Lebanese politicians continue to struggle to agree a new government. The protesters also smashed bank windows, and there were reports on social media of stores being looted.

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