BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army intervened to de-escalate tensions between protesters and supporters of President Michel Aoun Sunday as both sides protested near the presidential palace in Baabda.
Dozens were seen running toward protesters with some of them holding sticks. The Army formed a human chain separating the groups as Aoun's supporters chanted, "God, Lebanon and only Aoun."
At least one person was seen injured in the head.
Earlier in the day, dozens of supporters of Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement gathered near Baabda Palace to denounce criticism of him on the 46th day of nationwide protests.
The demonstration in support of Aoun came after multiple groups, including the Sabaa Party, called for a protest near Baabda Palace to demand that the president call for parliamentary consultations, which are constitutionally required to name someone to form the new government.
Lebanon has been without an active government since now-caretaker Premier Saad Hariri's resignation on Oct. 29 under street pressure.
Attendees of the pro-Aoun rally stressed that the president should not be insulted and his office should be respected.
One woman told local TV channel LBC that “Lebanon is for us, it’s not for refugees, not for Syrians.”
“I call on everyone who supports [Aoun’s] presidential term to be on the ground. ... We are with the revolution and its demands," said another supporter. "[The protesters] are our brothers, but we don’t accept insults addressed to the president. ... The president is a red line.”
Aoun, along with other politicians, has been a target of protesters who have demonstrated against the entire ruling class since Oct. 17.