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Thousands of protesters return to Lebanese Parliament after crackdown in Beirut

World News | Published:

The rally came hours after security forces dispersed demonstrators using tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lebanon Protests

Thousands of Lebanese protesters have defiantly returned to rally outside Parliament in Beirut, hours after security forces chased them out using tear gas and rubber bullets.

Saturday night into Sunday saw one of the most violent crackdowns on protesters since nationwide anti-Government demonstrations began two months ago.

They led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 29.

Lebanon Protests
Anti-Government protesters burn bins and throw glass bottles towards riot police during a protest in Beirut (Hussein Malla/AP)

Attackers in northern Lebanon also set fire to the offices of two major political parties, the state-run National News Agency said.

The protesters in Beirut on Sunday chanted against the security crackdown and called for an independent new head of Government unaffiliated with established political parties.

The crowd, many raising Lebanese flags, said: “We won’t leave, We won’t leave. Just arrest all the protesters.”

Others raised posters saying the tear gas would not keep them away.

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“We are crying already,” said one, in a jab at the deep economic crisis Lebanese are facing.

Lebanon Protests
A riot police officer fires tear gas from a launcher against anti-Government protesters trying to enter Parliament Square (Hussein Malla/AP)

The streets leading to Parliament were filled with protesters, some huddled in smaller groups while others were lifted on shoulders chanting in megaphones.

The overnight confrontations in Beirut left more than 130 people injured, according to the Red Cross and the Lebanese Civil Defense.

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The Red Cross said none of the injured were in serious condition and most of them were treated on the spot.

The violence and Sunday’s rally came just hours before the president was due to meet representatives of parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister.

After weeks of bickering and despite calls from the protesters for a technocratic Government, politicians seem set on bringing Mr Hariri back to the post.

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