The demonstration was organized to demand the dismissal of the judge in charge of investigating the explosion in the port of Beirut. Shiite organizations want to oust him because he said he was determined to listen to several politicians considered untouchable, including two former Amal ministers.
The explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020 caused more than 200 deaths and the destruction of several neighborhoods in the city.
This morning what began as a protest against the judge outside the Palace of Justice, with chants and marches, quickly turned into a battle with firearms.
Protesters claim they were attacked by snipers who fired at them. A version already confirmed by the interior minister. Bassam Mawlawi told reporters that snipers and snipers “shoot and hit people in the head”, while four rockets were fired.
Witnesses reported hearing shots from rockets and smoke coming from buildings that appear to have been hit.
Clashes are taking place in Tayouneh, an area close to where Lebanon’s 1975 civil war began.
When the shooting started, protesters and journalists were forced to seek shelter.
There are several local reports and videos, posted on social media, which show that shortly afterwards masked protesters appeared armed with what appeared to be Kalashnikovs. They have positioned themselves behind street barriers and rubbish bins and are shooting at those who attacked the demonstration.
The army was immediately mobilized, but the shooting continues.
This is the worst incident of violence experienced in the capital of Lebanon in more than a decade. The military warned that they would shoot “at anyone who shoots” and asked the civilians to leave the neighborhood, near the Palace of Justice.
Prime Minister Nagib Mikati has already urged the population to calm down and warned against attempts to drag Lebanon into a cycle of violence.
The European Commission, as well as France, have already called for containment so that the violence does not further aggravate the crisis that the country is going through.