Dozens injured in Beirut as Shiites rise against anti-government protesters

For the third consecutive night there were clashes, at least 66 wounded.  Hezbollah and Amal supporters tried to break into the square and target the young demonstrators.  Violence also in the south, in the port city of Saida.  President Aoun postpones parliamentary consultations, Hariri loses support from the main Christian party.



Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Lebanon, the spiral of violence linked to anti-government protests against corruption and malfeasance continues in an escalation of tension since the weekend.  For the third consecutive night on the streets of Beirut heavy clashes were repeated which, this time, saw the Lebanese army and supporters of the Hezbollah and Amal Shiite movements opposed.

Sources from the civil protection report that they have rescued at least 66 wounded in the center of the capital, where infiltration groups have been acting for some time to provoke disorder and violence.  According to witnesses, some unidentified people burned down protesters tents and attacked police forces deployed to protect public order and security.

A statement speaks of "43 wounded treated on the spot and another 23 transported to hospitals in the region".

The clashes were sparked by supporters of Shiite Hezbollah and Amal groups, already protagonists of past violence, who tried to break into the square and hit the protesters.  Behind the raid, a video that mocks Shiite leaders.  Army troops in the square intervened with tear gas, trying to separate two fronts.

Local sources speak of hundreds of young people on motorcycles, with flags of Shiite parties and religious symbols, intent on parading through the city center singing "Shiites, Shiites, Shiites" and burning wheels and tires.  They also launched stones and set off fireworks against security forces.

Ignoring appeals for calm launched in these hours by political and religious leaders, pro-Shia youths have tried to break the security cordon and break into the square where protesters have camped for weeks.  The violence concerned not only the capital, Beirut, but also the southern area of ​​the country, around the port city of Saida where groups of masked young people broke into the square and set fire to the tents of the protesters.

Meanwhile, the stalemate continues on the political front: seven weeks after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Lebanon is still without a government.  Yesterday President Michel Aoun postponed consultations with parliamentary block leaders after the only candidate - the interim prime minister Aoun - failed to find a parliamentary majority due to the lack of support for the most important Christian camp.