Caretaker Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan announced today that she has ordered the country’s security forces to open a “rapid and transparent” inquiry after dozens of people in Beirut were wounded in clashes the night before.
Minister Hasan stated, “I followed up, last night, with anxiety, sadness, and astonishment at the clashes that took place in the vicinity of the House of Representatives, and in the streets of Beirut, that led to clashes between the security forces and citizens and injuries on both sides.”
She added: “Due to the infiltration of some elements and the distribution of tasks assigned to the security forces to prevent the loss of responsibilities and to preserve the rights of the demonstrators, I asked the Internal Security Forces leadership to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine those responsible for what happened […].”
In her statement, Minister Hassan addressed the demonstrators, cautioning them of the presence of parties trying, for political goals, to exploit the rightful protests in order to create clashes between them and the security forces. She stressed that the security forces are working to protect the demonstrators and protect their right to demonstrate.
The clashes on Saturday erupted at the entrance to the street leading to parliament, as protesters attempted to enter Nijmeh Square in central Beirut to rally in front of the parliament building. They were chanting against parliament speaker Nabih Berri and resigned premier Saad Hariri, as consultations are being planned on Monday to assign a new prime minister.
As a result, dozens of protesters were injured, including some beaten repeatedly with batons by security forces who also fired a stream of tear gas canisters at the hundreds of protesters. To mitigate the effects of the tear gas, the protesters set fires in trash cans on the main street.