Lebanese Security Forces Clash With Protesters, Dozens Injured

  • Protesters accused the security forces of firing rubber bullets in the vicinity of Parliament, so they threw stones at the security forces.
  • Protesters intended to reiterate the demands of the popular uprising that began on October 17, to form a government of independents and technocrats.
  • The Lebanese Red Cross said medical teams are working to assist the injured.

The Lebanese Red Cross announced the injury of 75 protesters, as a result of clashes between security and protesters in Beirut, in the vicinity of Parliament in central Beirut. The demonstrators threw firecrackers and stones towards the security forces in the vicinity of Najma Square, and also threw steel separators towards them, trying to storm the iron fence.

The 2019 Lebanese protests, nicknamed the Tax Intifada, are a series of country-wide, non-sectarian protests in response to the government’s failure to find solutions to an economic crisis that has been looming for the past year. It is suspected that the direct trigger to the protests were due to the planned taxes on gasoline, tobacco and online phone calls such as through WhatsApp.

Protesters accused the security forces of firing rubber bullets in the vicinity of Parliament, so they threw stones at the security forces. This comes as the Lebanese internal security said that there was a violent and direct exposure to riot police at one of the entrances to the parliament. Thousands of demonstrators flocked to the streets of Beirut on Saturday, as protesters chanted slogans including “the people want to topple the regime,” while security forces erected iron barriers and barbed wire at the entrances to the House of Representatives, before resorting to using water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.

“We Will Not Pay the Price”

Under the title, “we will not pay the price,” protest marches were launched from more than one region, to meet in the vicinity of the Parliament. Protesters intended to reiterate the demands of the popular uprising that began on October 17, to form a government of independents and technocrats. Under the Al-Dora Bridge in the Burj Hammoud area, a popular march towards the Parliament began to meet with marches from other regions.

Saad Hariri is a Lebanese politician who has been the Prime Minister of Lebanon since December 2016. He was also the Prime Minister from November 2009 to June 2011. He is the second son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.

Likewise, the protesters flocked to the Barbir Square before they headed in a march to the Ministry of Finance, and then to the Association of Banks and the House of Representatives. From Sassine Square in Ashrafieh, a demonstration was launched towards the Ministry of Finance in Adliya, then the Association of Banks. Northward, more than 15 buses departed from Tripoli, towards the center of Beirut, with a large convoy of cars from northern regions, to participate in the demonstration in front of the House of Representatives.

Towards the Center of Beirut

The security forces kept pace with the marches towards the center of Beirut and demanded the expression of peaceful protests and the prevention of encroachment on public and private property. Since the protests that prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign last October, Lebanon has failed to agree on a new government or a rescue plan for the heavily indebted economy. Meanwhile, the Lebanese pound has lost almost half its value, and this has led to high prices and a collapse in confidence in banks.

The Lebanese Red Cross said medical teams are working to assist the injured. A number of people were injured earlier this evening, as a result of clashes between security forces and supporters of the Hezbollah group and the Amal movement, who stormed the Najma Square. Hezbollah and Amal (two Shiite movements) were not immediately available to comment. They usually deny any connection between the two movements and young people, who occasionally attack people participating in popular anti-power protests in Lebanon since October last year.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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