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Lebanon’s PM Diab condemns Tripoli protest violence

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Jan 29, 2021

Lebanon’s leaders have denounced the violence that gripped the northern metropolis of Tripoli in a single day Thursday, following days of clashes between protesters and police. 

For the previous week, residents of certainly one of Lebanon’s most impoverished cities have taken to the streets, urgent for an finish to the 24-hour coronavirus lockdown that has worsened already dire financial situations throughout the nation. The unrest escalated on Thursday night time, with a mob of protesters setting hearth to the Tripoli municipal authorities constructing.

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab stated condemnation is just not sufficient, pledging to have the “criminals” arrested “one by one” and referred to the judiciary.  

“The criminals who torched the Tripoli municipality, attempted to set ablaze the Sharia Court and wreaked havoc in the city … have expressed deep hatred against Tripoli,” he stated in a press release. 

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, which accused the rioters of throwing rocks and hand grenades of their course, fired tear fuel to disperse the crowds. The Lebanese Red Cross tweeted that six folks had been taken to the hospital on Thursday. 

The day earlier than, Omar Tayba, 29, died from a gunshot wound sustained watching the protests, his brother stated. More than 220 folks, together with greater than two dozen cops, have been injured within the clashes this week, the state-run National News Agency reported. 

Human Rights Watch researcher Aya Majzoub known as for Lebanon’s authorities to launch an impartial investigation into Tayba’s demise and to launch the findings to the general public. 

“I have no words to express the shock, anger, sadness,” she tweeted. “The government neglected the needs of Tripoli’s people and used brute force to silence them when they dared demand a better life.”

Earlier this month, Lebanon declared a state of emergency and a round-the-clock curfew — its third this year. The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 2,500 people in Lebanon, has overwhelmed hospitals already short on beds and resources.

The new lockdown measures come as the small Mediterranean country is experiencing its worst financial crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The Lebanese pound has lost more than half its value since October 2019, when protests first erupted over high youth unemployment, perceived government corruption and a lack of basic services. 

The massive explosion at Beirut’s port in August caused as much as $4.6 billion in damage to the city’s infrastructure, compounding Lebanon’s economic problems. 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun met with National Defense Minister Zeina Akar on Friday to discuss the security situation in Tripoli, his office said. The president “requested an investigation into the circumstances of what happened and the strict pursuit of perpetrators who have infiltrated peaceful demonstrators.”

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