Lebanese Interior Minister Orders Probe After Night Of Violence In Beirut

BEIRUT (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th December, 2019) Lebanon's caretaker interior minister, Raya el-Hassan, said Sunday she had ordered a prompt investigation into violent clashes that rocked Beirut overnight.

"All night I watched confrontations unfold near the parliament and in the streets of Beirut, in which security forces and citizens clashed, causing injuries on both sides ... I told the command of the security forces to conduct an urgent and transparent probe," she said in a statement.

A group of anti-government demonstrators first attempted to storm the parliament in the late afternoon, hurling rocks at the police, who responded by using batons and firing volleys of tear gas. The protesters were later joined by reinforcements coming from other cities.

Running battles also broke out between counter-protesters and police guarding anti-government demonstrators' camps in Martyrs' Square and on the Ring Bridge. A group of angry Shiite youths tried to break through the cordons but was repelled with tear gas.

The minister warned that infiltrators could be trying to escalate tensions between protesters and the police. The night of clashes led to 74 injuries, including among 20 police forces.

Lebanon has been rocked by nationwide protests since October 17, which forced the government to stand down weeks later. Demonstrations started over the continuing economic crisis that protesters blame on the government's mismanagement.