At least six persons have lost their lifes in wake of a deadly street protest which turns into violence in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Thursday’s tension in Lebanon erupted as a result of last year’s explosion which turned Beirut into a war zone.
The country’s army have deployed troops and tanks in order to bring the situation under control. Thursday’s unrest in Lebanon reportedly broke out after demonstrators were fired at, a move carried out by Hezbollah and Amal movements, Lebanon news and other outlets reported.
Demonstrators were protesting against Tarek Bitar, a judge assigned to investigate the massive explosion of ammonium nitrate at Beirut port in Lebanon on the 4th August last year in which 210 people died.
AFP correspondents said Thursday Lebanon violence erupted with sniper fire from residential buildings targeting the Hezbollah and Amal supporters, who returned fire with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
Lebanon interior minister Bassam Mawlawi said snipers had opened fire and aimed at people’s heads. All the dead were from one side, he said, meaning Shias. Politicians from the Shia blocs called for supporters to refrain from “being drawn further in” to fighting.
As the fighting started, children were taken from their classrooms in nearby schools and told to crouch in corridors, in scenes reminiscent of the conflict that ripped Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990.
Lebanon ushered in a new government in September, following just over a year of tortuous negotiations that left the country leaderless and paralyzed in a time of crisis.
The new government faces steep challenges and will struggle to implement major reforms, with violence in the streets, the spiking cost of staples including groceries and gas, along with the ongoing pandemic. Ordinary people are scraping by however they can.