middle east

Lebanon PM threatens mass arrests over deadly clashes


Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, broke his silence on Saturday to condemn days of violent protest in Tripoli, the country’s most impoverished city, as “an assault on the state and its integrity.”

“Everyone who participated in the riots will be arrested,” Diab said.

His comments followed deadly clashes during the week when protests at Lebanon’s extended coronavirus lockdown and worsening economic crisis turned violent.

Frustrations boiled over after 30-year-old Omar Taibi was shot by security forces during protests. The ensuing clashes left more than 220 people injured.

Protesters set fire to several buildings in Tripoli on Thursday as outrage grew.

Violence escalated quickly as molotov cocktails, hand grenades and stones were launched at the security forces, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and then live ammunition.

However, that did not deter others from expressing their outrage with the caretaker government as protests spread to other parts of the country.

On Saturday, groups of female protesters blocked the highway linking Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, with Akkar. The women complained that they were no longer able to secure basic needs for their families.

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