Fresh Protests, Clashes Break Out in Tripoli


Dozens of demonstrators on Tuesday lobbed stones, fireworks and molotov cocktails at security forces in the northern city of Tripoli, protesting the lockdown measures and the dire economic situations for a second night in a row.

They also tried to storm Tripoli’s serail, a key government building in the city.

Security forces meanwhile fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters.

Al-Jadeed TV said the army sent reinforcements to the city after protesters torched two vehicles, including a military one, and pelted troops with stones and firecrackers.

The army later managed to evict protesters from the city’s al-Nour Square, dispersing them to surrounding streets.

Protesters had earlier blocked several roads in the city and staged a march that stopped outside the houses of several MPs, carrying banners against corruption and chanting slogans denouncing politicians and demanding the recovery of stolen funds.

Clashes between protesters and security forces in the city on Monday night had injured at least 30 people.

A strict lockdown has been in place since mid-January in a bid to contain a major surge in coronavirus infections in the small country.

Protesters have decried that they have been unable to cope with the nearly month-long lockdown with little to no government assistance. The lockdown is in place until February 8.

Lebanon, a country of nearly 5 million and over 1 million refugees, is going through an unprecedented economic crisis that precedes the pandemic and restrictions imposed to combat it. The currency has tumbled, losing over 80% of its values; banks have imposed controls on withdrawals and transfers and unemployment and inflation skyrocketed.

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections surged in recent weeks, partially blamed on government measures to relax restrictions during the holiday seasons when tens of thousands of expat Lebanese were visiting. Hospitals have since registered near full occupancy of ICU beds and supplies were running out.



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