Dozens injured in renewed Lebanon crackdown on protesters

Dozens injured as Lebanese security forces crack down on angry protesters amid ongoing currency crisis
2 min read
13 June, 2020
Fighting has broken out between protesters and security forces in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, following an emergency government meeting regarding Lebanon’s economic crisis.
Protesters blocked roads and set fire to garbage containers [Getty]
At least 49 people have been injured in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli as violent protests against a collapsing economy and currency continued for the second night running on Friday.

Clashes broke out between protesters and soldiers in Tripoli’s iconic Al-Noor Square, where anti-corruption protests have taken place since September last year.

The Lebanese army and security forces used tear gas against the protesters and six of the injured were soldiers. The Lebanese Red Cross treated the injured in field clinics near the Square.

Clashes broke out in Tripoli's Al-Noor Square

Earlier on Friday, a number of protesters had tried to take control of two lorries carrying food supplies near Tripoli’s Saraya police station. Soldiers fired tear gas in order to prevent the protesters seizing the lorries.

Tripoli is an economically depressed city and Lebanon’s currency crisis, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, has hit the country hard, plunging many people into poverty.

Protesters also burned tires and garbage containers to block off roads. At Tripoli’s Abdul Hamid Karami Square, protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.

Read more: ‘Enough is enough’ - The fraught return of Lebanon’s revolution

The Lebanese capital Beirut also witnessed similar violence with videos uploaded to social media showing protesters burning shops around Riad Al-Solh Square. Protesters have also previously targeted banks for their perceived role in corruption and the creation of the economic crisis.

Violence erupted after the Lebanese government held an emergency session regarding the country’s economic downturn.

The Lebanese pound has lost 70 percent of its value over the past few months and the black market exchange rate has fallen to more than 6,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.

Lebanon's government tasked Justice Minister Marie-Calude Najm with carrying out an investigation into the “unjustified” fall in the Lebanese pound’s value, saying that the results of the investigation would be referred to “specialised judiciary”.

However, the protesters believe that the government has not taken adequate steps against corruption in the country.

On Saturday, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Jumhuriya reported that the government had backtracked from a decision to sack the governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh.

In May, the Lebanese government charged the Central Bank’s director of monetary operations, Mazen Hamdane, with manipulating the Lebanese pound’s exchange rate.

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