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Thousands return to parliament after crackdown in Beirut

Thousands return to parliament after crackdown in Beirut

Beirut, Dec 15 (AP) Thousands of Lebanese protesters defiantly returned Sunday to rally outside parliament in Beirut, hours after security forces chased them out, using tear gas and rubber bullets and injuring dozens. Saturday night into Sunday saw one of the most violent crackdowns on protesters since nationwide anti-government demonstrations began two months ago, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Oct. 29.

Attackers in northern Lebanon also set fire to the offices of two major political parties, the state-run National News Agency said. The protesters in Beirut on Sunday chanted against the security crackdown and called for an independent new head of government unaffiliated with established political parties.

The crowd, many raising Lebanese flags, said: “We won't leave, We won't leave. Just arrest all the protesters!" Others raised posters saying the tear gas won't keep them away. “We are crying already,” said one, in a jab at the deep economic crisis Lebanese are facing. The streets leading to parliament were filled with men, women and even children. Some huddled in smaller groups while others were lifted on shoulders chanting in megaphones.

The overnight confrontations in Beirut left more than 130 people injured, according to the Red Cross and the Lebanese Civil Defense. The Red Cross said none of the injured were in serious condition and most of them were treated on the spot. The violence and Sunday's rally came just hours before the president was due to meet with representatives of parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister. After weeks of bickering and despite calls from the protesters for a technocratic government, politicians seem set on bringing Hariri back to the post. (AP) MRJ

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

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