Beirut: clashes between demonstrators and Shiite groups. Card. Raï: politicians lack courage

Overnight clashes between protesters and supporters of Hezbollah and Amal. The toll is five injured, not serious. Soldiers and riot police intervened to separate the two fronts. The Maronite patriarch exalts the "courageous and free decision" of citizens to take to the streets and supports their demands.Beirut: clashes between demonstrators and Shiite groups. 


Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - During the night clashes broke out between anti-government protesters and supporters of Shiite (pro-Iranian) movements Hezbollah and Amal in Beirut, which since October 17 has been the scene of anti-government protests that resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri . Behind the escalation of tension, the blockade by the demonstrators of one of the most important bridges in the capital.

For five weeks, the protesters have called for the ruling class to resign en bloc and a new leadership to govern the Land of the Cedars. The toll of last night's clashes is five wounded, none of them serious.

Hezbollah and Amal were both present in the governing coalition that supported Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the last legislature, who resigned on October 29th. Hezbollah has strongly opposed, but in vain, the resignation of the head of government.

Soldiers and officers in anti-riot gear formed a barrier to divide protesters from supporters of the two Shia groups that have come into contact on the Ring Bridge, one of the capital's most important connecting routes. Both sides faced each other with stone and stone throwing. Security forces exploded tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Previously, Hezbollah and Amal supporters waved the flags of the two groups and sang "Shiites, Shiites", as well as slogans in support of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The anti-government protesters responded with the cry: "Revolution, revolution". To provoke the clashes, the choruses - according to the Shiite groups - sung by the demonstrators offensive of Nasrallah.

The Maronite patriarch Card Beshara Raï returned to the subject of the political and institutional crisis in Lebanon, the yesterday at Sunday Mass, accusing the ruling class of "lacking courage", at the same time praising the strength of the demonstrators on the streets.

"The Lebanese political leaders - the Cardinal said - lack courage. They are incapable of making courageous decisions, in favor of Lebanon and its people, because they are prisoners of their own interests and their ties with foreign countries".

"Thanking God - he continued in his homily - courage is not lacking in our people, with its peaceful and civil revolt. They came from all the regions, from all the communities and from all parts, they united and took their courageous and free decision. They demand parliamentary consultations in accordance with the Constitution and the formation, as soon as possible, of a government that restores confidence [to the country], that implements reforms, fights corruption, recovers stolen money and acts in the direction of economic growth " .

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