The protests that erupted in downtown Beirut on August 8th became a subject of great controversy, more so than the previous ones.
The response from security forces on the ground was so violent that it prompted Human Rights Watch (HRW) to conduct an investigation into the weapons used, including live rounds, rubber bullets, and the security apparatus that used them.
The questions that HRW sent to the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces on August 18th and 19th were not reportedly answered by either recipient for days.
However, the humanitarian organization has since posted an update on the matter, announcing that the ISF had responded to its letter on September 14th.
In its response, the ISF denied that its members had used live ammunition, rubber bullets, or metal pellets during the August 8th protest in downtown Beirut.
More importantly, however, the ISF said that “the Parliament Security Force, comprising Parliament Police and an army company, did use these weapons.”
HRW said that the Lebanese Army has yet to comment on the incident.
As for Parliament Police, HRW initially contacted it on August 19th and got nothing in return for its questions other than the phrase “interview over” from an official who refused to give his name and hung up afterward.
Parliament Police also declined to comment after this update, HRW noted.
Following the protests of August 8th, HRW interviewed numerous protesters who were victims of the excessive violence, in addition to journalists, lawyers, and health workers, to collect information about the security forces’ use of lethal force.
While the use of the aforementioned weapons on that day was officially denied, the numerous photos and videos available online indicated otherwise, and so did the press conference that doctors later held to shed light on the brutality against the mostly peaceful protesters.