Lebanese protesters turn violent


LebanonClashes broke out between protesters and police in the capital Beirut, injuring 220 people yesterday.

The violence erupted yesterday when dozens of protesters, many of whom covered their faces, threw bricks and pots at police officers guarding roads leading to the parliament building. Some also attacked security forces with road signs and fireworks.

Beirut police responded by tornado and tear gas. Clashes lasted for hours before the protest crowd dispersed. However, some people continued to attack the police in the evening.

Police fired tear gas in Beirut on the night of January 18. Video: Twitter / ThomasVLinge.

The Red Cross said 80 people were taken to hospital, while 140 others with lighter injuries were treated on the spot. This is the highest number of injured since anti-government protests broke out in Beirut on October 17, 2019.

The protests stemmed from opposing the proposed taxation of phone calls through the free app, which later evolved into a strong wave of issues such as corruption and widespread power outages. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced his resignation on October 29 but his administration is still in charge of running the country.

Demonstrators demanding the establishment of a new cabinet include independent experts not associated with traditional political parties. However, this process has not made any progress in the past 3 months, making many people angry. The World Bank says about one-third of Lebanese live in poverty, warning that the economic situation could get worse if the new cabinet is not set up quickly.

Police clashed with protesters in Beirut on January 18. Photo: AFP.

Police clashed with protesters in Beirut on January 18. Image: AFP.

Vu Anh (Follow AFP)

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