BEIRUT: It’s the third day of the nationwide protest against the current government policies, and the day started with the protesters organizing an early morning cleaning of broken glass, leftover burnt tires, and empty water bottles that were left in last nights’ chaos.
What started out as a peaceful protest, took a violent turn last night as turmoil between the protesters and police reached its peak after Prime Minister’s Hariri announced a 72-hour deadline to present solutions to the current deteriorating economic state of the country.
“I’m coming down today with my three children to clean up and continue what we have been fighting for,” Maria el Hage, a protester told Annahar, “this is our second day here, and we will remain here until they give us justice.”
Protesters in Beirut are present in Beirut’s Martyr’s Square and Riyadh El Solh.
In Tyre, protests took a violent turn after supporters of Nabih Berri attacked protesters on Abou Deib Street. Protesters were beaten, threatened, and outnumbered with multiple injuries and one death.
A local from Tyre told Annahar, “It started as fistfights and beatings, first with the guys, then the girls. They started firing at us and threatening everyone, they were already chanting 'Berri is a god' while beating everyone.”
Many other regions including Tripoli, Aley, Chtoura, and Nabatieh also saw massive demonstrations. Roads to Magdoushi, Achrafieh, Sassine Square, Jounieh, Khaldeh, Ouzai, Beqaa, and the highway leading to the airport have been blocked with burning tires.
“If they think that gassing us, beating us and humiliating us would make us go away, they are wrong” Angela Rahma, a nurse protesting at Martyr’s Square told Annahar. "I work 16 hours a day and I still found the time to come down. Everyone should be down here, that’s the only way things will change.”
Detainees of last nights’ protest have reported severe beatings at the hands of officers. Parents of the detained protesters gathered Saturday around the station waiting for their sons and daughters to be released.
Fatima Bassam, whose brother was reportedly taken and beaten by the police while peacefully protesting, described to Annahar the horrific scene.
“My brother got beaten in the most brutal way. He has problems in his back, and after he told this to the police, he started stepping on his back and kicking him with his boots. He almost lost consciousness before the Civil Defense stepped in.”
Despite Friday night’s police brutalities, Riyadh El Solh remains a gathering point of thousands of angry civilians who are defying the potential havoc that might ensue.
Mohammed Jalloul, a student protesting in Riyadh El Solh told Annahar, “I have my onions chopped, goggles, gas mask, spare clothes, water, and stamina. They tried to scare us away, but they only made us angrier. We return today and everyday until all of them resign.”
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