After clashes lasting more than two hours between protesters and security forces in Hamra, near Central Bank, protesters roamed the streets of Hamra to act out against what was perceived as “brutal and violent harassment by the security forces against the protesters.”
Security forces used physical force to disperse the crowd from the Central Bank area because of riots started by people within the protest.
Protesters confirmed that a group of people “who did not represent them” were throwing water bottles, stones, and fireworks at security forces.
They then sought out the banks of Hamra to unleash their anger on. They broke ATMs, park meters, and glass windows of banks and exchange stores.
They even succeeded in breaking into Bankmed in Hamra Square but were instantly stopped when riot cops shot fire to the air.
Riot cops and ISF managed to disperse protesters by using a huge amount of tear gas and shooting fire to the air as a way to scare them off.
Even though protesters shattered all-glass fronts of banks, they did not come near any other store.
“Our aggression is not against innocent businesses. Our aggression is against the aggressiveness of security forces and the cruel policies of banks,” said a protester in that crowd.
They also ‘advised’ banks to close tomorrow, threatening any open bank to be broken into pieces.
The Association of Banks in Lebanon announced that all banks will be closed tomorrow to keep the peace and safety of bank employees.
However, minutes later, the Association of Banks announced again that all banks will be open as normal.
Hamra streets are now witnessing peace gradually as riot police and ISF are chasing down rioters as well as protesters by tear gas and arrests.
It is still unclear what provoked this anger-meltdown between protesters and security forces.
Some speculations are said to confirm that the clashes started when a group of protesters was able to pass through the walls that separated them from the Central Bank, set to keep them at a distance.