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Lebanon, October 29, 2019

Shooting, stabbing reported as Hezbollah supporters attack protesters

Original source

Jerusalem Post

Gunfire was heard as a group of men attacked protesters with knives at Beirut's Martyrs' Square soon after youth in black shirts destroyed tents and scared off protesters without any interference by security forces, according to Lebanese broadcaster MTV. The group of youth, who are widely being identified as members of the Hezbollah terrorist group and the pro-Hezbollah Amal Party, requested that everyone leave the square.

Similar attackers were reported in other areas of Beirut and anti-riot police and the Lebanese Army were deployed to downtown Beirut. Amal and Hezbollah members threw stones at the army and protesters, according to Al-Hadath.

Members of Amal are preparing to head to Elia Square in Sidon in southern Lebanon, according to MTV.

According to Al-Hadath, members of Hezbollah and Amal have been tearing down tents in the Martyrs' Square.

The youth seem to have orders to break tents and scare protesters without being exposed, according to an MTV correspondent. They are attacking protesters with sticks.

"Security forces remain calm and unbothered as a group of men wearing black shirts attack protesters with sticks in Martyrs' Square," said an MTV correspondent.

Protesters are flowing to the Ring Bridge after clashes between protesters and Lebanese people against the protests broke out there earlier.

Amal and Hezbollah supporters are roaming downtown Beirut on motorcycles to confront demonstrations.

"We tell the prime minister of Lebanon and the minister of interior and minister of defense that what is happening in Beirut today is flawed and it is your responsibility," said former member of parliament Fares Souaid, according to MTV. "I warn of the situation in Beirut because if it continues it will take another turn."

"Here is the official sponsor of the government, using the means it excels at including intimidation and bullying in the face of the finest uprising in Lebanon in its history, but the will of the Lebanese people will remain the strongest," said president of the Kataeb party Samy Gemayel.

Earlier, Reuters reported that supporters of the Lebanese Shi'ite groups Hezbollah and Amal fought with protesters at a roadblock on a main road in Beirut on Tuesday, pulling down their tents and leading police to step in, Reuters witnesses said.

The men were chanting in support of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the head of the Shi'ite Amal Movement.

The incident started when the men pushed their way into the protest camp set up by demonstrators on the Ring Bridge in central Beirut, trying to make them open the road.

Recent days have seen increased violence among the protests as supporters of the Hezbollah terrorist group and the pro-Hezbollah Amal party clash with anti-government protesters.

On Monday, unidentified gunmen opened fire at a protesters' tent on a highway in the western Bekaa Valley, according to the Lebanese National News Agency. The bullets hit a water tank that provides the town with water, causing panic. The shooters fled from the scene in a black car to an unknown location.

The Lebanese Army refused to intervene when clashes broke out on the Ring Bridge in Beirut on Tuesday. Civilians attempting to cross the road blocked by anti-government protesters began attacking the protesters, according to Lebanese broadcaster MTV.

Reports by Al-Arabiya stated that the attackers were supporters of Hezbollah and Amal.

The civilians opposed to the closure of the Ring highway assaulted a news correspondent and cameraman working for MTV and violently attacked and beat protesters.The Lebanese Army remained at a distance from the brawls and security forces were sparse in the area. Eventually they advanced a little and set up a human barrier to prevent clashes.

An MTV correspondent called the incident "shameful" as security forces didn't intervene at a time when "elderly people and women are being beaten."

Demonstrators called on the Interior Minister Raya Hassan to send security reinforcements to the Ring Bridge.