Supporters of Shiite groups in Lebanon on Saturday have once again attempted to attack peaceful protesters in capital city Beirut only to provoke local police into retaliating with tear gas and batons, a Sputnik correspondent at the scene reportedBEIRUT (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 14th December, 2019) Supporters of Shiite groups in Lebanon on Saturday have once again attempted to attack peaceful protesters in capital city Beirut only to provoke local police into retaliating with tear gas and batons, a Sputnik correspondent at the scene reported.
Martyr's Square and Ring Bridge in central Beirut have become common gathering places for protesters in the nearly two month long streak of demonstrations. Largely peaceful and non-partisan, participants have witnessed several attacks from aggressive youths, often chanting slogans in support of Shiite paramilitary groups Hezbollah and Amal.
"Supporters of Shiite parties are throwing stones at the police and firing fireworks at us. Security officers used tear gas to drive Shiites away from the venue for a peaceful demonstration," one eyewitness told Sputnik's Beirut correspondent.
Police were able to drive the rioters away to a nearby Shiite neighborhood but scattered attack through hurling stones continued, according to the eyewitness.
Several emergency medical teams could be seen at the sites of the attacks, with one police officer requiring immediate medical attention after being hit with a large stone, the eyewitness continued.
Hassan Nasrallah and Nabih Berri, leader of Hezbollah and Amal respectively, have denied accusations that the aggressors are acting at their command.
The protests in Lebanon began on October 17 after the government said it would introduce a tax on internet calls made via the WhatsApp messenger. Despite the measure being scrapped, and the cabinet being dismissed, people have remained in the streets to demand economic reforms, specifically in the banking sector.