December 3, 2021

Day of mourning in Lebanon, Beirut after bloodshed at protest

According to hospital and military sources, some of those killed had been shot in the head.

Day of mourning in Lebanon, Beirut after bloodshed at protest

Day of mourning in Lebanon, Beirut after bloodshed at protest photo credit: BBC

Lebanon has announced a day of mourning on Friday after at least six people were killed and dozens were injured in deadly fighting in Beirut.

Gunfire broke out during a protest by Shia Muslim groups against the judge investigating last year’s deadly blast at the Beirut port.

Hezbollah, which arranged the protest, claimed that demonstrators were fired on by gunmen on rooftops. They placed the blame on a Christian faction, although the group denies the charge.

Huge tension surrounds the inquiry into the port explosion that killed 219 in August 2020. Large swathes of the city were devastated by the blast but no-one has yet been held accountable.

Hezbollah and its allies stated that the investigating judge is biased but the families of the victims support his work.

What started as a protest outside the Palace of Justice by hundreds of people arguing that the investigation has become politicized and demanding the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar quickly escalated with heavy gunfire erupting in the streets.

Local residents and children had to flee as men armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers – believed to have been members of Shia and Christian militias- exchanged fire in the streets. The violence continued for several hours before calm was restored.

According to hospital and military sources, some of those killed had been shot in the head. They included a woman who was hit by a stray bullet while inside her house.

Sources: BBC, MSN

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