Al Jazeera reported that people have been wounded in Beirut after security forces used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds of anti-government protesters trying to reach Martyrs’ Square, the hub of a months-long protest movement calling for changes to Lebanon’s political and financial systems.
According to Reuters, Lebanese first responders treated more than 370 people for injuries during several hours of clashes between security forces and protesters that rocked central Beirut on Saturday night.
It was the highest toll on the most violent night since largely peaceful protests erupted across Lebanon in October. As the country sinks deeper into an economic crisis, anger has boiled over at a ruling elite who have dominated power since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The Lebanese Red Cross said it had treated 220 people who were wounded on both sides on Saturday, taking 80 of them to hospital. The Civil Defence said it had given first aid to 114 others and taken 43 people to hospital.
The Internal Security Forces said 142 police were injured.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said: “Security forces failed to push protesters away from Martyrs’ Square, the epicentre of the protest movement.
“People are very defiant. They say the more violence used against us, the more revolutionary we become. They are promising to stay in the streets and continue with their protests action until they see a change in leadership.”
Via Al Jazeera / Reuters