Lebanon rocked by second night of violent unrest


The violence comes ahead of political consultations that are expected to rename Saad Hariri as prime minister. His reappointment would likely further inflame protests against political elites.

Lebanese security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters in central Beirut on Sunday night in the second day of violent protests that have wounded dozens of people.

The unrest comes ahead of consultations between the president and parliamentary blocs on Monday in which resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to be renamed to the post.

Hariri stepped down on October 29 in the face of protests against political elites widely viewed as corrupt and responsible for plunging the country into a deepening economic crisis.

The reappointment of Hariri after weeks of political deadlock would likely further inflame a two-month old protest movement demanding an independent technocratic government.

“Saad, Saad, Saad, don’t dream of it anymore,” protesters chanted Sunday amid calls for “revolution, revolution.”

Weekend of violence

Saturday and Sunday marked the most violent outburst in two months and signaled a growing willingness of security forces to use force to quell the unrest.

After hours of clashes between riot police and protesters on Sunday, the army deployed to the streets and blocked roads.

The army, widely viewed as a nonsectarian institution, reportedly intervened between protesters and supporters of the Shiite groups Hezbollah and Amal.

The violence on Sunday began when demonstrators were attacked by counterprotesters as they tried to advance near parliament. Security forces then tried to disperse the demonstrators using force.

cw/dr (AFP, AP, Reuters)



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