Clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Lebanon, one dead
Due to the social, political, and financial crisis that is sweeping the country, exacerbated by the prolonged lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the situation in Lebanon remains unstable. A young man died of serious injuries overnight in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, during clashes between protesters and police. For the past few days, thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets to protest the general closure decision amid the economic collapse.
Ahmed Tayba confirmed the death of his 29-year-old brother, Omar, in hospital Thursday morning from injuries sustained during the night’s fighting. The Lebanese National News Agency reported that he would pray on his body after the midday prayer in Bab al-Tabbaneh cemetery.Omar used to work in a bakery in central Tripoli and is a resident of one of the city’s poor and popular neighborhoods, which witnessed violent clashes for the third consecutive day Wednesday evening, resulting in 226 injuries, according to the National News Agency.
Tripoli’s streets and squares witnessed violent clashes between protesters and city police on Wednesday night, which began when protesters fired stones and fireworks at security forces. The agents were also exposed at the launch of Molotov bombs, according to media reports. Some protesters then tried to storm Tripoli’s Serail, the most important administrative and security center of the city, and police head quarters.Security forces responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. The army worked to remove the protesters. An AFP correspondent reported that live bullets were heard at night in several areas of the city.
“We have decided to continue our movements regardless of the cost because we have nothing left to lose in the country,” said Muhammed, 25, a masked protester who lost his job. He added: “We live in miserable conditions. I have not left. I have broken down a door, but I have not found a job opportunity that would ensure our daily livelihood.”Tripoli, the second-largest city in Lebanon, already was one of the poorest centers in the country. Before the start of the economic collapse, and then the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, which prompted the authorities to announce a tight lockdown with an hourly curfew that began two weeks ago, and it will continue until February 8.
Closure measures exacerbate the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon, where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line and day workers make up more than half of the workforce, in the absence of medical or social assistance, and effective support from part of the authority.Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon has recorded 293,157 infections and 2621 deaths. In the last 24 hours, there have been 3,497 new cases and 68 new deaths, according to official data from the Beirut Ministry of Health.