People took to the streets on Saturday to protest against paying bills for services the government hasn’t been providing for years.
The protest that started with a large march and promulgated the statement “We Won’t Pay” reached central Beirut where it immediately turned into a confrontation between protesters and the security forces.
The confrontation intensified, leading the ISF to call on the peaceful protesters to leave the area immediately so they can deal with what has been now assumed as “infiltrators” aiming for violence and riot.
The ISF tweeted a video of their call via a megaphone where they are heard saying, “We ask the peaceful protesters to leave the area immediately.” Protesters moved then towards the Serail and the security forces prompted attempts to separate them.
At calling on the peaceful protesters to leave the site, the ISF warned that anyone who remains in the rioting areas will be immediately arrested.
This announcement came in light of the increasing belief that ‘infiltrators’ have turned the revolution violent in Beirut.
The security forces went towards Riad el-Solh and began blasting the protesters with water cannons. A video posted by Al-Jadeed shows riot police in Beirut seen intentionally shooting water canon at a father holding his kid.
The incident incited controversial reactions on social media. Some criticized the father for exposing his child to that dangerous aggression and others went to his defense for being a ‘desperate hero’ of a kind.
The fact is that both father and son were in that peaceful demonstration in which families and people of all ages participated.
The ISF arrested several protesters and posted on Twitter items that they seized from them, which include gloves, gas masks, and helmets. They referred to the arrested protesters as being troublemakers or rioters.
Saturday marked the 100th day of protests and people intend to continue fighting for their rightful demands. They also intend to fight back against the attacks that happened at Jnah on January 24th, especially that only two of these assailants were arrested.
The recent increases in violence by the security forces and the ambushes by supporters of certain political parties have done very little to kill the motivation of the protesters.
They have shown that they will continue their fight until the end. On Monday, they are forming a Human Shield to block the Parliament in Beirut as their campaign against corruption continues.