Lebanon News

Group of men clash with security forces after video insulting Shiite figures

Protesters clash with security forces in Beirut on Dec. 16, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah and Amal called on their supporters who clashed with security forces late Monday to withdraw from the streets of Beirut. 

The two parties called on the group of men to leave the streets after they stormed Downtown Beirut following a video that surfaced with insults against Shiite religious figures and the leaders of the two parties. 

Riot police fired tear gas at the men who were standing under the Ring Bridge and throwing firecrackers at the ISF.

The men, believed to be from al-Khandaq al-Ghamiq then flipped a car and began hurling rocks at the Internal Security Forces, before the ISF fired tear gas. 

A car was set on fire after the driver rammed into a number of the men. A second car was torched on the Ring Bridge about an hour later.

As for the man who appeared in the recorded video, he claimed to be from Tripoli.  

A senior sheikh from Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon, distanced the sect from any such offensive actions.

“We tell our people in the Shiite community that those who harm … are not from us and do not represent the Sunni sect, have nothing to do with the sect and do not express the Sunni opinion,” Sheikh Hasan Merheb told local TV channel Al Jadeed. 

As the intermittent clashes with security forces continued throughout the night, local media reported that protesters' tents were burned down in Sidon and Nabatieh, two major towns in south Lebanon.

Nationwide anti-government protests have been taking place since Oct. 17. Despite a relatively calm two months, violence has erupted on multiple occasions between protesters and counter-protesters as well as with security forces. 

 

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