Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-Beirut shaken by "barbaric" protests crackdown


UPDATE 1-Beirut shaken by "barbaric" protests crackdown
Representative Image Image Credit: Wikimedia

An upsurge of violence in Lebanon's protests against the ruling elite, with police meting out beatings and protesters hurling stones, has alarmed rights groups and whipped up public fury. After a brief lull in largely peaceful protests since October, people filled the streets again this week, angry at a political class that has steered Lebanon into its worst economic crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, police wielding batons and firing tear gas wounded and arrested dozens as protesters lit fires and smashed bank facades and ATMs, Reuters journalists saw. "These past two nights, they (police) were really barbaric," said Cynthia Sleiman, a charity worker and protester who ended up in hospital after Wednesday night's violence in Beirut.

"I had just arrived and was looking for my friends when the policeman grabbed me, hitting me on the head and neck. I fell to the ground and blood was streaming out," she said. Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) said they were pursuing rioters and 100 policemen were injured this week. "The force member is suffering daily in the street," ISF chief Imad Othman said on Thursday. "He is not a robot, he is a human."

A security source said at least 80 protesters were injured in two days and 72 others arrested. Many of those in detention would be released on Thursday, the source said. Since the protests led Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign in October, politicians have failed to agree a new cabinet or rescue plan for the heavily-indebted economy. The Lebanese pound has lost nearly half its value, dollar shortages have driven up prices and confidence in banks has collapsed.

Azza al-Masri, a media researcher also injured on Wednesday, said she saw a woman faint after police beat her up. "The viciousness was unlike anything I've seen," she said. Activists believe police violence may indicate Lebanon's establishment has lost patience with protesters and is also stung by public wrath against banks, which have curbed access to savings and blocked most transfers abroad.

Human Rights Watch's Beirut director Lama Fakih told Reuters the group was concerned at excessive force by security forces amid rising frustrations on both sides. She said there was no "strong message" from government that police would be held responsible. A Lebanese media group said 15 journalists were attacked on Wednesday. One of them was a Reuters video journalist, who was treated in hospital for head injuries and released.

On Thursday, lawyers, journalists, and activists gathered at the interior ministry and the justice palace in Beirut to complain about police violence. Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan told reporters she had not ordered a clampdown and denounced attacks on media, while also urging understanding for police.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

WEF 2020: Trump seems politically correct in pulling out from Paris Agreement

If the survey of the World Economic Forum WEF is believed, Trump seems to enjoy the confidence of his people in flaying climate intuitions and climate activists. His preference for economic development over environmental protection not only...

From home to healthcare, here are Robotic innovations transforming lives

Lovot is equipped with more than 50 sensors such as thermography, microphone array, obstacle detection, and touch sensor to generate motion and emotions in real-time....

Translating words to deeds: Achieving gender parity in access to financial resources

... ...

SDG13: How you can reduce global warming by changing your food habits

The mega narratives of various international organizations give the impression that fighting global warming is only a job of government agencies. However, the European Investment Bank EIB has designed a questionnaire which besides making th...

Videos

Latest News

U.S. denies Britain's extradition request for diplomat's wife -State Dept

The United States has declined Britains request for the extradition of a U.S. diplomats wife who was involved in a car crash that killed a British teenager, the State Department said on Thursday. At the time the accident occurred, and for t...

NFL-Garoppolo will seek to channel Brady 'calm' in Super Bowl

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will try to channel his inner Tom Brady calm when he leads the San Francisco 49ers into battle against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 2. Garoppolo already has two Super Bowl rings after...

Trump to sign trade accord with Mexico, Canada next week: White House

Washington, Jan 24 AFP US President Donald Trump will sign the new North American trade pact with Mexico and Canada next week, a White House official said Thursday. The USMCA, the fruit of years of negotiation between the three key trading ...

Rockets tip off 4-game road trip at T-wolves

In desperate need of a win, or anything to reverse their recent trend of suboptimal play, the Rockets were in no position to debate the merits of their victory over Denver on Wednesday. The Nuggets were missing four key rotation players, in...

Give Feedback