The Lebanese capital of Beirut has been killed and injured by armed fighting at a demonstration. Authorities say there are at least six deaths. At least thirty people were injured according to the Lebanese Red Cross. Schools will be closed tomorrow and there will be a day of national mourning.
Eyewitnesses saw that protesters were shot from roofs and balconies this afternoon. On that, present militias opened fire on the attackers:
The army has been deployed and two explosions have been heard at least. The reason for the hours of shelling is not clear, nor who has opened fire on those present.
The powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement says a Christian political party is behind the attack on the protesters. The snipers on the rooftops are said to have opened fire on the people on the streets on the orders of Christians, most of them supporters of the Hezbollah movement.
The massof people had gathered to protest against a judge investigating the catastrophic explosion in the city of 2020. The battles broke out in an area between a Christian and a Shiite quarter, formerly a frontline in the Lebanese Civil War.
An Al Jazeera reporter described the situation in the area as a war zone. “These are the most intense gunfights in Beirut in recent years. The military is in action, but cannot control the situation.” Later in the afternoon, firearm violence eventually stopped.
According to Hezbollah, the attack is an attempt to divide the Lebanese. The armed group, supported by Iran, has a major influence in the country. Hezbollah and his allies have called for Judge Tarek Bitar to step up. According to them, Bitar is partisan and a “slave of America.”
Problems are piling up
Bitar has called on several politicians to be interrogated in connection with the major explosion last year. Among them is also a number of Hezbollah allies. They are all suspected of negligence, which ultimately led to an explosion that killed more than 200 people.
The unrest and the stalled investigation into the explosion are just two of the major problems that are plaguing the country. For example, there is a serious financial crisis; Lebanese pound has fallen 90 percent in value in two years. According to the UN, about three-quarters of the population lives in poverty. There is great discontent due to large-scale corruption.