At least three dead and several injured in Beirut are the toll of armed clashes that broke out as part of the protests against the main judge who is investigating the devastating explosion of 4 August 2020 at the city’s port, Tarek Bitar. This was reported by the Lebanese news agency NNA. In the clashes there were also snipers and Kalashnikovs, pistols and grenades were used. The demonstration, in front of the courthouse, was called by Hezbollah and its allies, who demand the removal of the judge.
It is not clear what triggered the shooting. An Associated Press reporter saw a man open fire with a pistol during the protest and gunmen firing at demonstrators from the balcony of a building.
The Lebanese army has asked civilians to leave the areas affected by the tensions. On Twitter, as reported by the NNA agency, the army warned that the units deployed in areas where there are tensions “will open fire on any armed person on the street and on anyone who shoots from any direction”, asking civilians to leave roads.
An appeal for calm came from Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati. The prime minister is in contact with the army commander, General Joseph Aoun, the head of parliament, Nabih Berri, and the interior and defense ministers. The government headed by Miqati was born in September, after a stalemate that lasted 13 months.