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Lebanon: 115 injured in clashes with security forces


At least 115 people were injured Thursday in clashes between protesters and security forces in Tripoli district north of the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

The protesters gathered in the center of Tripoli in the afternoon and marched to the governor’s office in Sahet Al Nour square.

Security forces deployed around the governor’s office used tear gas to disperse the protesters, most of them young people, who responded by throwing stones at the police.

Frustrated over the country’s economic crisis and unemployment, the demonstrators set fire to some garbage containers.

The clashes continued in Sahet Al Nour and nearby streets and Tripoli City Hall was set on fire.

A group of people in Abdul Hamid Karami Square in Tripoli started the fire by throwing Molotov cocktails at the city hall, according to local media.

Most of the documents inside the building were burned and the building was damaged, but no casualties were reported.

The municipal government has been standing by the protesters seeking their rights for more than a year, Tripoli Mayor Riad Yamak said in a statement.

Yamak said that those who set fire to the city hall were not the protesters seeking their rights and that this move was carried out to cast a shadow on the rightful demands of the demonstrators.

The fire broke out in the “Sunni Sharia Court” in the government building due to Molotov cocktails being thrown during the demonstrations, Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces said on social media.

“Why did the Lebanese army stand by and watch the brigades, the municipality and facilities burned down, and who will protect Tripoli if the army fails to protect it?” Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri tweeted.

Meanwhile, a security officer was wounded due to a hand grenade that was thrown in front of the government building in the square, the Internal Security Forces said on Twitter.

The Lebanese Red Cross said six people were transported to hospitals and 106 were treated at the scene.

In addition, demonstrations in solidarity with the protesters were staged in the southern city of Sidon and the eastern Baalbek region.

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that three protesters who blocked a road in Baalbek were hospitalized due to a car crash.

The Lebanese government has announced that it is extending a nationwide curfew to Feb. 8 as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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