A new round of clashes broke out Thursday afternoon in Tripoli between security forces and demonstrators protesting dire economic conditions aggravated by the coronavirus lockdown.
The protesters staged several attempts to storm Tripoli’s serail, the main governmental building in the city, prompting security forces to fire tear gas from rooftops. They later managed to remove a part of the metallic gate of the building.
In the evening, the protesters heavily hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at security forces protecting the serail.
The Internal Security Forces meanwhile said that a “military hand grenade” landed inside the premises of the serail, lightly injuring an ISF member.
Security forces had earlier fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the city’s al-Nour Square.
Thursday’s clashes between protesters and security forces injured more than 40 people, according to the National News Agency, adding to the more than 300 wounded since confrontations started this week.
Earlier in the day, demonstrators staged angry demos outside the residences of Tripoli politicians Samir al-Jisr, Mohammed Kabbara, Ahmed Fatfat and Faisal Karami, where they set trash bins on fire and vandalized security cameras and plants.
The scope of the protests in Tripoli, now in their fourth day, appeared to be widening even as the nation grapples with both the pandemic and the worst economic crisis in Lebanon’s history.
Overnight clashes in the city had left at least one person dead and 220 others injured.
Frustrations have boiled over in Tripoli amid deteriorating living conditions and strict coronavirus lockdown measures. The violence marks a serious escalation in protests that began Monday and are still ongoing until the moment.
The protesters have denounced the extended shutdown that exacerbated already dire conditions amid the unprecedented economic and financial crisis.
Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city and the most impoverished, has been a center for demonstrations and rioting against Lebanon’s political class.
A demo was meanwhile organized outside the Interior Ministry in Beirut in solidarity with Tripoli’s protesters. Another rally organized by the Lebanese Communist Party was also staged at Beirut’s Riad al-Solh Square.