Machnouk inspects the damage in downtown Beirut. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The scene near Riad al-Solh, which bore the brunt of the weekend violence, looked like a battlefield Monday, drawing condemnation from Lebanese and Western officials alike.MachnoukInterior Minister Nouhad Machnouk accused members of certain political parties of provoking the clashes with police during the protest.HaleUnited States Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale underscored the importance of freedom of speech during a meeting he held with Salam, stressing his country's commitment to Lebanon.KaagU.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag called for "political accountability" of Lebanon's leaders after they failed to take urgent decisions on the protracted trash crisis.Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian expressed solidarity with the demands of the protesters, but denounced scenes of rioting that overwhelmed Downtown Beirut.Derian also expressed solidarity with Salam. GemayelThe people who expressed their anger and took to the streets are a spark of hope and proof that there is a will to change, Kataeb leader Sami Gemayel said after heading a party meeting.Gemayel, however, differentiated between the organized groups and people calling for rightful demands and those who want to instill chaos. Regarding Tuesday's extraordinary session called by Salam to discuss the waste crisis in Lebanon, Gemayel said that the session would be a test for the government.Amal MovementThe Amal Movement Monday denied reports that accused its members of turning the You Stink campaign's peaceful protest into violent clashes with the security forces.
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