Riot Police Clashed With Protesters Blocking Streets In Lebanon

Mohamad Azakir/Walid Saleh

Dozens of police in riot gear were seen spreading in the Beirut district of Corniche Al-Mazraa on Tuesday after a small number of residents tried to block it to express their opposition to the 13-day shutdown.

Protesters later increased in number, closing roads and a key highway in northern, eastern, and southern parts of the country with burning tires and rocks before Lebanese soldiers quickly moved in and reopened them.

For a second straight night, protesters clashed with security forces in the northern city of Tripoli, as anger boiled against the dire living conditions accompanied with the nationwide total lockdown.

People hurled rocks at police outside the government building of Tripoli port. Police responded with tear gas to try and disperse the crowd.

The latest clashes came less than 24 hours after similar confrontations in Tripoli left more than 60 people injured, including 26 police officers.

Anti-lockdown protests had also been reported in the southern city of Sidon over the weekend.

Last week, the Lebanese government extended a total lockdown by two weeks, lasting until February 8th, to halt the aggravating increases in coronavirus cases.

The restrictions include a round-the-clock curfew, the closure of all businesses, and only allowing home deliveries for grocery shopping.

Lebanon’s current restrictions are among the strictest the people have been through. But poverty is pushing many of them back onto the streets, as a large number of families in poorer areas feel forced to defy the rules and protest the decision of the closure.

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