- Title: Overnight clashes in Sidon leave burnt cars, shattered tents
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: SIDON, SOUTH LEBANON (DECEMBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS PROFANITY*** PROTESTERS SETTING TIRES ON FIRE / PROTESTERS SWEARING LEBANESE PARLIAMENT SPEAKER NABIH BERRI PROTESTERS STANDING IN THE STREET IN FRONT OF FIRE BURNING PROTESTERS AND ARMY RUNNING PROTESTERS WALKING VARIOUS OF TIRES BURNING BLOCKING ROAD / SOLDIERS STANDING IN LINE IN THE BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS IN THE STREET / FIRE BURNING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, SAYING: "The protest is because of the video that was leaked, a group of people came down and destroyed tents and assaulted some protesters that usually sleep here, there is even a family with a child that were assaulted, their tents were destroyed, and then these groups of people left, and what you are seeing here is the anger of the protesters." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS TENTS DAMAGED / GLASSES SHATTERED SIDON, SOUTH LEBANON (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) BUS AND CAR DRIVING PAST SHATTERED PHONE BOOTH CAR DRIVING PAST OVERTURNED GARBAGE BINS / TRASH SCATTERED ON STREET SHATTERED PHONE BOOTH BANNERS AND TRASH ON STREET TRASH PILED UP ON SIDEWALK / CAR DRIVING PAST VARIOUS OF PLANTS POTS OVERTURNED ON ROAD BEIRUT, LEBANON (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURNT CAR DURING CLASHES OVERTURNED ON SIDEWALK / CARS DRIVING PAST (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, FATIMA, SAYING: "The person who spoke (badly about Shi'ite religion) should be punished, they shouldn't include everyone. Because of them a lot of people who are not concerned are getting affected. This shouldn't have happened, what happened yesterday is something wrong and a lot of people were affected, but thank God they couldn't get into the square (Martyr's Square) and they couldn't destroy any tent." VARIOUS BURNT CAR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, FATIMA, SAYING: "Honestly a lot of people here lived in distress because of what happened as if it was truly bombings over our heads, the molotov, the tear gas, the rubber bullets, and all in big quantities, the tear gas filled the whole area here and they couldn't hold them back, even after they received calls to get out of the street (the Pro Shi'ite supporters), they didn't, until at the end the they left around 4 am, we didn't hear anything anymore, they said that the situation had calmed down." VARIOUS OF DAMAGE SEEN ON CARS BURNT DURING CLASHES VIEW OF MOSQUE IN CENTRAL BEIRUT / CARS DRIVING PAST
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 09:50
- Keywords: Amal Beirut Hezbollah Sidon anger army burnt cars clashes damage police protesters tear gas
- Location: SIDON AND BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: SIDON AND BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Civil Unrest,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAD5GLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: CONTAINS PROFANE LANGUAGE
Wreckage of burnt cars, damaged phone booths and shattered tents was all that was left in the streets of Beirut and the southern Lebanese city of Sidon Tuesday (December 17), after clashes raged overnight between the army and Shi'ite groups.
In the early hours of Tuesday, Lebanese troops lobbed tear gas to disperse supporters of Hezbollah and Amal who tried to storm a square in Beirut in response to a video that purportedly offended Shi'ite figures, witnesses and media reports said.
Ignoring calls for restraint by politicians, the youths tried to break a security cordon to storm the square where demonstrators have set up tents as part of an anti-government protest that has been going on for weeks. Scores of youths had burnt tires, smashed office buildings and torched several cars.
In the predominately Sunni populated city of Sidon, groups of masked youths stormed into a main square where they set ablaze several tents set up by demonstrators who have camped for weeks.
The protesters camped in the square have been targeted by Shi'ite groups in the past angered by chants against their political leaders, although Tuesday's violence was of an overtly sectarian nature.
The video, which inflamed passions in a country where sectarian divisions run deep, was purportedly made by an expatriate Lebanese Sunni from the northern city of Tripoli and released on social media.
More than seven weeks since Hariri quit, politicians have been unable to agree on a new administration despite the deepening financial crisis. The impasse took a violent turn at the weekend when Beirut was clouded in tear gas as security forces clashed with protesters who blame the ruling elite for corruption and bad governance. Dozens were wounded.
(Production: Hassan Hankir, Alaa Kanaan, Imad Creidi, Chiara Rodriquez)
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