UPDATES INJURED TOLL, ADDS MORE DETAILS
By Sumeyye Ozer and Mahmut Geldi
BEIRUT (AA) - Eighty of 220 injured protesters in Beirut were admitted to hospitals Saturday after clashing with security forces outside the parliament building.
The remaining 140 of the injured received outpatient treatment, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.
Lebanon cities hosted marches with the slogan: “We will not pay the price” to protest the country’s economic and political situation.
Protesters in Beirut threw stones and water bottles at security forces, who responded with water cannons and tear gas.
Protests have become violent for the first time since they began Oct. 17. Some tents of demonstrators and shops in the region were set on fire.
Another group of protesters marched outside the buildings of Central Bank and Association of Banks.
The protests were also held in northern and southern cities.
President Michel Aoun called on defense and interior ministries to protect public and private properties and prevent uprisings.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri also evaluated the protests, which cause tension, fires and destruction in Beirut, as a situation threatening the internal security of the country.
Lebanese Interior Minister Raya el-Hassan said on Twitter: “I have always stressed the right to peaceful protests. But the protests have turned into an open attack on security forces, public and private properties. This is never acceptable.”
Lebanon suffers from high unemployment, slow growth and one of the highest debt ratios in the world, with the debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Finance Ministry.
*Writing by Sena Guler