The number of injured protesters continue to increase as Lebanese security forces fire water cannons and rubber bullets over violent demonstrators who began stone-throwing in Beirut, Lebanon.
More than 370 people were recorded wounded, the largest injury toll since anti-government protests began in October 2019 as Lebanese people took to the streets to question their government’s incompetence for the country’s worsening economic crisis.
The protests were triggered by endemic corruption in the public sector, water and electricity shortages, rapid devaluation of the country’s currency and the Lebanese government’s move to impose tax on gasoline, tobacco and WhatsApp users.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was forced to resign on October 29, 2019 but protesters even expressed further ire for major delays to build a competent and completely new government with no ties to established political parties, according to a report by Associated Press.
On Saturday (January 19), the 94th day of civil unrest in Lebanon, thousands of protesters gathered in the country’s capital Beirut carrying protest signs “We will not pay the price” referring to the country’s
$87 billion public debt, the Associated Press said.
A report by Reuters said demonstrators yelled “revolution” with others climbing the barbed wire fence to storm the heavily barricaded part of central Beirut near the parliament, throwing stones on police.
Some of them even turned their anger on banks, which controlled access to people’s savings, by smashing through the glass facade of the banking association.
Protesters also faced violence from police and attacks from supporters of the sectarian parties, said a demonstrator interviewed by Reuters.
The Lebanese Red Cross, meanwhile, said they are on standby with 12 teams ready to intervene and treat injured individuals.