A fired-up weekend in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, has left dozens of injuries among peaceful protestors and security officers.
Clashes between the latter two erupted on Saturday night and dragged into the early hours of Monday, with a few hours of truce in between. The events, which are considered the most violent since Lebanon's historic uprising against the country's ruling elite started on Oct. 17, played out on live television.
Confrontations began when thousands of demonstrators tried to move into Nejmeh Square near parliament on Saturday evening. Riot police immediately gathered at the scene and threw tear gas cans at protestors. Activists reported rubber bullets were also fired at crowds. In retaliation, a number of protestors threw stones at police, injuring over 20 officers, according to the BBC.
The Lebanese Red Cross confirmed over 30 injuries were attended to and taken to local hospitals.
In the wake of the clashes, the country's Minister of Interior Rayya El Hassan and Lebanese army officials "discussed the events" and said investigations would be launched into any violations committed on part of security officials.
"We were all peaceful, just chanting and protesting as we have been doing for the past two months. Police are saying we pushed metal barriers but I didn't see anyone doing that and even if someone did that, there's no excuse for the way we were treated," Salam, an activist who was at Saturday's protest, told StepFeed.
According to him, demonstrators were ambushed by riot police as well as tear gassed, shoved, and beaten; a few were also detained.
Earlier in the day, masked men believed to be affiliated with Lebanese political parties attacked tents placed at Riad Al Solh. They then assaulted security officers on ground but weren't tackled back in any way.
Thousands expressed anger over this specific matter, pointing out how police practice extreme restraint when dealing with thugs but resort to violence when targeting peaceful protestors.
As the weekend's violent events unfolded, online activists documented the ongoings and posted footage capturing the clashes.
The attack was captured minute-by-minute
Riot police violently beat up protestors
Hundreds of tear gas canisters were dispersed in the area
Protestors retaliated and went viral for it
Sunday night witnessed the same clashes
The violence didn't deter demonstrators, though
Saturday's violent events didn't deter thousands of protestors who were back in the streets the next day. After hours of peaceful demonstrations, clashes broke out again between groups of protestors and riot police on Sunday evening and all through the night.
Lebanon's uprising led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri late in October. Since then, discussions aimed at forming a new government remain deadlocked.
The country's parliamentarians are expected to hold a session to name a new prime minister on Monday (Dec. 16). Experts believe Hariri is set to be named again despite protestors' calls for the formation of a completely technocratic government.