The interim Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker issued pleas for calm after Tuesday’s night of violence in Lebanon.
Government security forces clashed with Shiite supporters stirring fears of more political and economic turmoil. The situation is disconcerting for most. Pierre Houssney is Executive Director for Horizons International, based in Beirut. First, he notes that since the protests began October 17, “It has been almost supernatural how peaceful these protests have been.”
Anger over the government’s approach to the economic crisis sparked the protests, which lead to the resignation of Saad al-Hariri –a Sunni–as Prime Minister. The problem is that Lebanon’s main parties aren’t in agreement on the formation of a new government since Hariri stepped down.
Security forces attempted to disperse protesters, and that’s where things took a turn for the worse three days ago. Houssney described one attempt as “A lot of tear gas being administered to the crowds of protesters that were downtown. And you see on Twitter or the news, just clouds of tear gas just wafting over crowds of people.”
Turning a corner in Lebanon
As the effort to quell the mob intensified, a seemingly opposite reaction also emerged. “It was amazing just watching the protesters that were clashing with the forces, that when the forces got hurt, they were helping them. It shows that from the beginning, the protesters have been very aware that they’re not protesting against the army. But the army has the unfortunate task of having to put down the protests on behalf of the corrupt politicians.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama