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Lebanon: Clashes and tear gas in Beirut as anti-government protests turn into riots

Several thousand demonstrators had gathered in Martyrs’ Square expecting to reboot nationally protests that started late last year with the unparalleled economic and fiscal crisis. But tensions and branches over the aims of the demonstration immediately became evident because groups of young men confronted, with the military standing.

Scattered groups of protesters came from the capital’s downtown area, a lot of these without sprays to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, in reaction to calls for a mutually protest to press demands.

Lebanese rose against their leaders in nationally mass protests on Oct. 17 amid a spiraling economic catastrophe, blaming them for years of corruption and mismanagement. The protests, which further afield the recession, finally lost momentum and afterward were placed on hold following the outbreak of the outbreak.

It was the largest protest since the authorities slowly started easing a lockdown targeted at controlling the virus. Saturday’s demonstration was called due to grassroots associations and civil society groups in addition to many political parties, for example, some teams that have introduced for the very first time demands for its Shiite militant group Hezbollah to disarm.

The involvement of governmental circles and anti-Hezbollah slogans angry a few activists and protesters who say the focus must stay on fixing the nation’s financial crisis and calling for early elections.

“We’re demanding an independent judiciary system, responsibility, and ancient parliament elections,” stated Firas Abou Hatoum, an activist. “These requirements are the requirements of the 17th of October revolution and we’re still requiring it, aside from the calls to disarm Hezbollah’s weapon”

A few of the banners held by protesters browse”Lebanese Lives Matter,” a play on words in the”Black Lives Issue” slogan that’s been utilized in certain U.S. protests.

Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and riot police were set up on important streets in the capital and its suburbs before the protest. They afterward stood between fans of Hezbollah and its allied Shiite Amal movement on one side along with protesters on the flip side, several whom shouted insults directed in the Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Close to the parliament building, a bunch of young guys hurled stones over cement obstacles erected to seal off the area. Young men vandalized several storefronts, such as a luxury French designer furniture business, along with a nearby resort. They pulled a designer sofa after hammering the storefront window and dividing it to the store and used it to block a street. Police reacted with hefty tear gas.

The unprecedented financial crisis, nationally protests, and pandemic pose the largest threat to stability because of the conclusion of the nation’s civil war in 1990, and there are fears of a fresh slide to violence.

Recently, the pound, pegged to the dollar for at least two decades, has dropped 60 percent of its value against the dollar, and costs of basic goods surged. Unemployment has risen to 35 percent and an estimated 45 percent of the nation’s population is currently under the poverty line.