probably samir geagea’s party at work here

Troops fire from armored vehicles as Beirut descends into chaos, resembling warzone, Oct 14 2021

Armored vehicles have rolled into Beirut as the Lebanese capital descended into chaos, with crowds led by Hezbollah and Amal groups demonstrating against Tarek Bitar, the lead judge of the port blast investigation. Beirut resembled a warzone on Thursday as the army deployed armored vehicles to a divided area of the city where deadly skirmishes erupted following an attack on a protest. The army declared that the troops would fire at any armed individuals on the capital’s streets. The Lebanese army deployed a range of armored vehicles, including tanks and trucks with mounted machine guns. Sources on the ground suggest the troops have moved toward a building from which militants are allegedly based.

Videos show armed men firing rocket-propelled grenades, others responding with machine-gun fire. Many of the militants are dressed in body armor and have sought to protect their identities by wearing balaclavas.

In other footage shared online, Lebanese troops can be seen patrolling the devastated area of the city, pointing their guns up at apartment blocks as they hunt for those involved in the unrest.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm. The leader attended the defense ministry to oversee the response to the violent clashes. In a statement, the Lebanese army said that the gunfire started as protesters, demonstrating against Tarek Bitar, the lead investigator of the Beirut port probe, passed through a traffic circle located in an area dividing Christian and Shiite Muslim neighborhoods. Reports suggest the shooting came from the Christian neighborhood of Ain el-Remmaneh and spiraled with shots being fired in both directions. Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV cited that two had been “martyred” and several wounded had been taken to a hospital in the Shiite southern suburbs. Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said five people had died. The protesters have been calling for the removal of Judge Bitar from the port explosion probe, accusing him of prejudice after he requested some of the country’s most senior politicians appear before the court. On Tuesday, Bitar issued an arrest warrant for ex-Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil shortly before Khalil and former Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeiter filed a complaint asking for Bitar’s removal from the case. Both Zeiter and Khalil are close or allied to Hezbollah.

Two Reportedly Dead, 12 Injured During Protests in Beirut
Sofia Chegodaeva, Sputnik News, Oct 14 2021

Two people were killed and twelve more were injured as a result of gunfire in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut on Thursday, local media reported, citing sources in the army. This comes amid rallies staged by supporters and allies of the Shi’ite group Hezbollah, who planned to go to the Justice Palace to protest against the judge investigating the deadly Beirut port explosion. The gunfire reportedly began at Ain el-Remmaneh neighbourhood when people who were heading to the protest were passing through a nearby traffic circle, prompting an exchange of fire. A video has emerged online, showing people running in the street and trying to hide in a nearby district. Also on Thursday, at least two explosions were reported in Beirut after clashes had occurred near a site where a protest related to the 2020 Beirut port blast had to take place. The Lebanese army has issued a statement, saying that they were looking for those who attacked protesters.
Last month, the investigation into the explosion at the port of Beirut, which killed over 250 people in Aug 2020, was suspended due to a lawsuit filed against judge Tarek Bitar. The lawsuit was reportedly filed by ex-Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, whom the judge wanted to summon for questioning. The deadly explosion rocked the port of Beirut on Aug 4 2020, killing more than 250 people, injuring 7k people and leaving about 300k people homeless. The blast was blamed on thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port.

Here’s a recorded ‘live feed’ from this morning (4 hours long):

What is Going On in Lebanon and Why is There a Fear of Civil War?
Sputnik News, Oct 14 2021

Six people were shot dead and at least 12 are critically injured in hospital after heavy gunfire was reported in the Tayouneh district of Beirut on 14 October. The Lebanese Army said the gunfire had targeted the protesters as they passed through a road junction close to the interface between Christian and Shia neighbourhoods. The army called on civilians to evacuate the area and warned it would open fire at anyone firing live rounds. Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm and warned against attempts by provocateurs to drag Lebanon back into its violent past. Between 1975 and 1990 Lebanon was torn apart by a sectarian civil war which pitted Maronite Christians against Shia and Sunni Muslims and their Palestinian and Druze allies. Hezbollah and Amal also issued a joint statement on Thursday in which they called on “our supporters to stay calm and not to fall for malicious provocations” and warned that the attack on protesters was aimed at “plunging the country into a strife.”

The latest political crisis has come in the wake of the catastrophic blast in Beirut’s docks on Aug 4 2020 which killed more than 200 people, injured 5,000 and devastated a large part of the capital. It has since emerged 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly volatile chemical used as fertiliser, had been stored in Warehouse 12 at Beirut docks after being taken off a ship, the MV Rhosus, in 2013. The vessel developed engine trouble while travelling from Georgia to Mozambique. The ammonium nitrate should have been disposed of, or resold, but was instead kept at the warehouse in poor conditions which led to it exploding with devastating consequences. The investigation into the explosion is seeking to get to the bottom of which politicians and port officials were responsible for the fatal decisions. But Hezbollah and Amal claim the judge leading the investigation into the blast, Tarek Bitar, is targeting them in a blame game. He has been heavily criticised by Hezbollah and Amal after he tried to subpoena several Shia ministers and officials as part of his probe.

On Thursday, Lebanon’s Court of Cassation reportedly turned down a lawsuit filed by two former ministers demanding Judge Bitar be replaced. Earlier this month, the judiciary rejected another attempt to oust Judge Bitar, who has been praised by relatives of some blast victims as a symbol of judicial independence. The ruling would allow the judge to resume enquiries into the devastating Beirut explosion. Today’s violence followed a Monday speech by Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah, who called for an “honest” judge to replace Bitar. But the following day, Judge Bitar issued an arrest warrant for Ali Hasan Khalil, a senior Amal MP, who refused to be questioned about his role in the events leading up to last year’s explosion. Khalil, who said the path of the probe could push Lebanon “towards civil strife,” then threatened a “political escalation” if Judge Bitar did not change the course of the investigation.

Hezbollah, Amal Movement’s Statement on Tayyouneh Attack: Attackers, Purposeful Political Gains Clear
Al Ahed News, Oct 14 2021

Hezbollah, Amal Movement issued the following statement regarding the attack against the peaceful protesters in Tayyouneh: At 10:45 am, as protesters were heading to assemble in the peaceful protest in front of the Palace of Justice against politicizing the investigation in the Beirut Port blast case, and as they arrived at Tayyouneh area, they have been directly shot at by snipers positioned on rooftops; an intense shooting followed, in which martyrs and critical injuries were reported as the gunfire was aimed at the heads of protesters. This attack by armed and organized groups aims at pushing the nation to an intended discord, the responsibility of which should be held by the inciters and the sides hiding behind the blood of the victims and the martyrs of the port blast for purposeful political gains. Amal Movement and Hezbollah call on the Lebanese Army to shoulder its responsibility and intervene rapidly to stop those criminals, and urge all supporters and members to stay calm and avoid being taken to the malicious discord. Hezbollah, Amal Movement

One Comment

  1. Paul
    Posted October 14, 2021 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Perfect timing for a colour rebellion. All that’s needed is snipers on the rooftops.

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