Police forces clashed with angry protesters resulted in wounding dozens of the latter. This has accumulated upon the continuous delays in forming a government.
With no progress, the protests sweeping Lebanon since October 17 heated again this week demanding a solution for the economic crisis and the urgent need to form a new government.
Protesters demanded independent experts and exclude all existing political parties of the cabinet.
On Saturday evening, fire tore through protest tents in an iconic square in central Beirut. What caused the blaze was not immediately clear.
Earlier, marches converged on the city centre from across Beirut, with demonstrators chanting “We won’t pay the price”.
Dozens of protesters threw rocks and large plant pots at police guarding the parliament in Beirut. Others charged police blockades with traffic signs and metal barriers.
The response was water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the groups of protesters.
Dozens were wounded according to the Red Cross, with 40 people transported to hospital and 60 treated at the scene.
“A direct and violent confrontation is taking place with anti-riot police at one of the entrances to parliament,” the Internal Security Forces twitted. “We ask peaceful protesters to keep away from the site of the rioting for their safety.”
Photos were distributed showing several wounded policemen and an AFP photographer saw young men uproot parking metres. He also saw around 10 people faint from tear gas inhalation.
The intertwined political system has added to the complexity into forming a cabinet. This reflects on the difficulty in maintaining balance between the country’s many political parties and religious confessions.
Protesters, therefore, demands to overcome the old system and build a new government of impartial parties to address the growing economic crisis among other demanding issues.
The streets protests this week addressed the banks, especially branches in the capital’s Hamra district vandalised following widely unpopular limits on withdrawals and transfers.
Dozens were detained for several nights after clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday, before being released.
Human rights groups denounced the arrests and what they described as unacceptable violence against largely peaceful protesters.
The last government stepped down under pressure from the street on October 29, but has remained in power until a new cabinet is formed.
The World Bank has warned of increasing poverty rate in Lebanon that could rise from a third to half of the population if the political crisis is not solved at once.