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Riot police used clubs, tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters who dismantled a security barrier in Downtown Beirut Thursday in a fresh attempt to access a heavily fortified square outside Parliament.Many more were rounded up after midnight when dozens of riot police charged them to clear the area following hours of clashes. Television footage showed police shoving, striking and slapping protesters after catching them. Among those arrested after police charged them was Imad Bazzi, a protest leader affiliated with the You Stink campaign. Police first began firing water cannon just before 7:00 p.m. and continued for about two hours when the water truck motor overheated and began to smoke. That truck pulled back and was replaced by another water cannon truck, which resumed spraying the protesters until police charged protesters just after midnight.
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