Share:

Lebanese soldiers have fired rubber bullets and live rounds in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to march to the presidential palace during an anti-government demonstration

An anti-government protester shouts slogans during a protest against the Lebanese President Michel Aoun near the presidential palace, in Baabda east of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. Lebanese soldiers on Saturday fired rubber bullets and live rounds in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to march to the presidential palace during an anti-government demonstration. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Source: AP

BEIRUT — Lebanese soldiers on Saturday fired rubber bullets and live rounds in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to march to the presidential palace during an anti-government demonstration.

Tension is high in Lebanon following last month’s devastating explosion at Beirut’s port that killed nearly 200 people, and after another mysterious and huge blaze at the same site Thursday.

The Aug. 4 explosion was caused by the detonation of nearly three thousand tons of ammonium nitrates that had been improperly stored at the port for years. More than five weeks later, it is still not clear what started the fire that ignited the chemicals, and no one has been held accountable so far.

An anti-government protester during a protest against the Lebanese President Michel Aoun near the presidential palace, in Baabda east of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 . The protester is holding a poster that reads ” He knew” This was in reference to the huge August 4 explosion at Beirut Port. Aoun knew about the 2750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate that exploded at the port 2 weeks before the explosion and did nothing about it . The army fired rubber bullets and live rounds in the air to disperse the protesters trying to march to the presidential palace during an anti-government demonstration. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Source: AP

The explosion, which created a massive shockwave that shattered glass and blasted windows, doors and injured 6,500 people, came on top of an unprecedented economic and financial crisis blamed on decades of corruption and mismanagement by the country’s political class.

Protesters had called for the march Saturday to the presidential palace in the suburb of Baabda to express their anger and call for accountability. Supporters of President Michel Aoun called for a counter-protest at the same location, adding to the tension.

Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers separated the two camps. Later, as anti-Aoun protesters attempted to break a security cordon blocking their path on the highway leading to the palace, troops fired at first live rounds in the air, then rubber bullets, in an effort to disperse them.

Some protesters threw stones and tree branches at the troops, injuring several of them. Some sat in the middle of the highway vowing to stay there. A group climbed on a sign post and hung ropes tied into nooses.

The public blames the corruption and negligence of Lebanon’s politicians, security and judicial officials, many of whom knew about the storage of the chemicals that exploded and did nothing.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Share:
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No connected account.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to connect an account.