Breakers linked to the parliament speaker's Amal party ransacked the settlements built by the protesters in the city center.
There are cheers and faces tired, fists raised and eyes fogged. Among the diehards of the Riad-Al-Solh square, one of the protest sites in central Beirut, opposite the seat of the government, the announcement of the resignation of Saad Hariri left a bitter aftertaste, Tuesday 29 October afternoon. "We are very happy, but we are also very worried for the future", says a bearded demonstrator, rummaging through a jumble of broken chairs, torn tent cloths and burnt paperwork.
A few minutes before the televised speech of the prime minister, as if they wanted to prohibit the street to rejoice, a hundred or so thugs have swept over the center of Beirut, then sparsely populated by protesters. "It was like a swarm of locusts, says Malak Alaywe Herz, the young woman made famous by the kick in the crotch she gave to a bodyguard of a minister, on the first night of the revolt. They melted on our encampments at full speed, broken, burned and looted in all directions. "
The raid was led by vandals from Shiite neighborhoods in Beirut, mostly supporters of the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, also leader of the Amal party. Nobody knows if any attack orders have been formally distributed. But the speech delivered four days earlier by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Berri's ally, insinuating that the protesters were party to "Foreign embassies"or even with Israel, was probably seen as a green light.
"The police watched without doing anything"
The attackers, armed with sticks and knives, began by attacking the ring, a wide avenue connecting the east and west of the capital, where the protesters block the traffic. After violent clashes between the two camps, the police deployed, preventing the big arms from ransacking the small camp, damming the entrance to this road.
The thugs have reported their destructive rage on the place of Martyrs, located below. Yelling "Shia, Shia" and "By our soul, by our blood, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Berri," they put down and set fire to the stands that were used to house the demonstrations: the recycling bins, the volunteer office, the first aid area, the children's corner, etc.
Overwhelmed or deprived of a clear order, the police did not really try to oppose this descent. "The police looked at nothing," rebels Malak Alaywe Herz. Another witness on the scene, Amani Beainy, adds: "The police wanted to stop us from filming. The thugs called us Israelis. When I took up the slogan of the movement, calling for the release of all parties, Hezbollah included, a man hit me in the face. "