Attacks on protesters multiply in Lebanon

After clashes, in Beirut, November 25, 2019. Hassan Ammar / AP

In central Beirut, in the midst of protests against political staff, protesters were repairing their tents on Tuesday (November 26th). On the night of Sunday to Monday, supporters of the Allied Shiite Amal and Hezbollah units attacked protesters who had cut a central road from the capital. The clashes lasted long hours, there was scraps in the area.

Since, the crowd is more sparse and, at the end of the afternoon, new tensions are feared. Soldiers and police are posted near the places of the revolt. "Without their presence, we can not stay here. But we fear all the time that this protection will disappear … "says Wael Lazkani, chef and protester. In a few days, the atmosphere within the mobilization has rocked. "The enthusiasm is still there, but the fear has infiltrated"continues the man who prepares daily meals for the protesters and the poor.

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On Monday evening, supporters of Hezbollah and Amal had already descended in a convoy in central Beirut. "They shouted" Shiites, Shiites! "Some threw stones. Some young people wanted to answer them, but they were retained. We do not want to go to the field of violence "said Chérine El-Zein, a protester.

Series of confrontations

On Tuesday, tensions spread in several parts of the country. In Baalbek, in the east, it is again supporters of Amal and Hezbollah who attacked protesters, as in Tire, the day before. North of Beirut, clashes have fought supporters of opposing Christian parties. In Tripoli, demonstrators attacked banks and a training office of President Michel Aoun. In the suburbs of Beirut, the army imposed a cordon of security between Shiite sympathizers and Christians from rival neighborhoods.

Despite the threat of violent slippage and the specter of confessional tensions, the most optimistic observers want to see in this series of confrontations incidents orchestrated by the parties in a logic of demonstration of political force. The new government is still not trained. For its part, Hezbollah denies sending its supporters. But without convincing: the party is too disciplined to let overflows, and they have been repeated since Sunday. "With Amal, they are making us understand that they gave us forty days to demonstrate, and that's enough", believes Chérine El-Zein, determined to remain mobilized.


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