Three weeks after welcoming the year 2020 with fireworks and hopes, Lebanese people are now using the leftover fireworks to throw at riot cops and ISF, who in return, are shooting rubber bullets straight to the protesters’ heads.
What started as a peaceful demonstration against a governmental system starving its own people, has now turned into a battle of survival between the Lebanese citizens and the Lebanese state, which is using the Lebanese military as a tool against the citizens.
The Weekend of Anger has been brutal. Sunday did not look any better than Saturday. The scenario repeats itself, protesters act bad, riot cops react worse.
So far, 39 civilians have been hospitalized and 56 others have been treated on ground by the Lebanese Red Cross.
In an attempt to break into Nejmeh Square, where the Parliament building is located, protesters were throwing fireworks tied with bottles of ethanol/rubbing alcohol at security forces, as well as rocks and tree branches.
However, this does not seem to give the army a reason to carry on Rocket Propelled Grenades RPGs as a way to ‘keep the peace and order.’
As of now, RPGs have not been used; the security forces have restricted to the use of water hoses, tear gas, and rubber bullets against protesters, aggressively and in massive amounts.
The Head of the Beirut Bar Association Melhem Khalaf visited hospitals on Sunday to check up on the wounded from the clashes of Saturday, whether civilians or security forces.
He condemned both parties for vandalizing and said, “Rubber bullets should never be shot at civilians unless extreme danger to civil peace. If necessarily, rubber bullets should be only shot at people’s feet and from a distance of a minimum of 40 meters away.”
Two journalists have been shot with rubber bullets: Al-Jazeera reporter Ihab Al-Akadi and Al-Jadeed photographer Mohammad Al-Samra. Both are in stable conditions as the injuries were not as critical.
Protesters also broke the glass window of Patchi chocolate store and looted Alfa store to make materials for shields against rubber bullets and water cannons, all while a new government still suffers to see the light.
It is unfortunate that this is the ‘solution’ the officials came up with to try to squash the revolution, using the army against the people, which couldn’t but eventuate in violence and chaos.
The streets of Beirut that were once peaceful with revolutionary chants and gatherings for three months straight are now dreadful battlegrounds.