Anti-government protests turn violent in Beirut

Lebanese security forces detain at least 27 protesters using tear gas and water cannon in Beirut one day after postponement of talks on political crisis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A protestor throws back a tear gas canister during a protest in Lebanon's capital Beirut.

At least 27 protesters were detained during an anti-government protest held in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Friday morning.

According to local media sources, police used tear gas and water cannon on Thursday night during the clashes in which some 36 people including six policemen suffered from suffocation.

A statement released by The General Directorate for Internal Security on Thursday said that the demonstrators, who also threw rocks at security forces, attempted to dismantle the barriers erected around Nejmeh Square with the aim of reaching the parliament building in Beirut.

The last wave of protests took place as Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who called for a three-day "national dialogue," announced on Thursday that further talks on the ongoing political crisis would be delayed until October 26 as politicians could not make any progress in the discussions.

The crisis was sparked by a rubbish crisis which started in July. Thousands of Lebanese flooded streets demanding the resignation of Lebanon's minister for the environment for failing to find a solution disposing of the 20,000 tonnes of garbage that filled the streets.

The “You Stink” campaign has since grown after the protesters included corruption and incompetence as issues in their campaign.

Since May 2014, Lebanon has been without a president as parliament has failed to meet the quorum needed to elect a new one. The parliament has also postponed elections and extended its own mandate twice.

Behind the Lebanese deadlock is a conflict of interest between the two political blocs in Beirut. These are the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, including Christian politician Michel Aoun, and the Saudi-backed mainly Sunni pro-Western Future Movement, led by politician Saad al-Hariri and his allies.

Both parties disagree on a wide spectrum of issues, mainly the Syrian civil war that started in March 2011 and displaced millions of people, 1.1 million of whom are currently in Lebanon.

TRTWorld and agencies