Riot police are seen at an anti-government protest in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Internal Security Forces spokesperson Joseph Moussallem Saturday rejected accusations that police used excessive force against an "illegal" anti-government rally two days earlier in Downtown Beirut, blaming "rioters" for the violence which left dozens wounded.Activists had said that more than 60 protesters were arrested.The protesters at Thursday night's rally and past demonstrations had tried to reach Nejmeh Square, insisting that they have a right to access it as a public space.They (protesters) do not have to gather in Nejmeh Square, and we know what will happen if they do," Mousallam said, in a clear reference to the damage that might be caused in the area if clashes were to take place.He urged protesters to respect the security barriers erected during gatherings, and not to provoke or attack the police so as not to face arrest or have the police retaliate. The Red Cross said 39 protesters were wounded.
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