The number of victims of the clashes, recorded on Thursday during a protest in the Lebanese capital Beirut against the judge who investigated the explosions in the city in August 2020, amounted to seven dead and more than 30, according to the Lebanese Red Cross Injured.
The organization’s director, Georges Ketané, has stated in statements to the Lebanese newspaper “L’Orient le Jour” that several of the injured are in critical condition, so it cannot be ruled out that the death toll in the next Hours.
The incidents broke out after shots were fired at protesters, mainly supporters of the Shiite militia party Hezbollah and the Shiite movement AMAL, who protested against Judge Tarek Bitar while these formations protested their form of investigation.
The situation quickly led to open clashes, during which rocket-propelled grenades were fired. A grenade also struck the area amid a major military operation to contain the clashes.
It is currently unclear who opened fire on the protesters, although the authorities have arrested around ten people. Hezbollah and AMAL have directly indicted the Lebanese Armed Forces, a Christian formation led by Samir Geagea, despite the fact that the party has distanced itself from the incidents.
The situation is relatively quiet on this Friday, on which a day of national mourning and the general closure of shops were ordered. The funeral of several of the dead protesters is due to take place this Friday.
The governments of Russia and Iran, for their part, have joined the international response after the US, France and the United Nations issued statements calling for containment to avoid further deterioration in the country.
“We call on all Lebanese politicians to show restraint and caution and return to constructive work to resolve the problems on the national agenda on the basis of mutual respect and understanding without external intervention,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
She has also expressed “extreme concern” about “growing political tensions in Lebanon” and expressed her hope that Nayib Mikati’s government will meet “this dangerous challenge” and that there will be no “further deterioration in the situation” in Lebanon. the country”.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Jatibzadé, for his part, condemned the incidents, stressing that “Lebanon will, as always, successfully leave behind the Zionist-backed riot and the conspiracies planned and carried out by the bosses.” Agents of this regime, “with reference to Israel.
“While stressing the importance of maintaining stability and peace in Lebanon, Iran is closely following developments in the country and believes that the people, government and army along with the Lebanese resistance will continue to thrive with cohesion and unity as always. ” overcome the turmoil and conspiracies supported by the Zionists, ”he estimated.
Jatibzadé has stressed that “it is necessary for the government and Lebanese authorities to identify and arrest those responsible for these crimes,” while expressing condolences to the executive branch and the Lebanese people, according to Iranian news agency Mehr.
The incidents came amid a criticism of Bitar by Hezbollah and AMAL – which includes Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri – and after several former ministers called as witnesses in the investigation filed various lawsuits to try the Judge dismissed.
This increase in tension has jeopardized the stability of the recently formed Lebanese government, which will be replaced by another judge on 20.
Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah harshly indicted Bitar on Monday, accusing him of “selective” and “politicized” positions. He called for him to be replaced “by a transparent and honest judge” and added that the families “will not learn the truth with this judge”.
Nasralá warned that “if the judge continues to act like this, the country could face a major disaster”. “What is happening in the investigation is a very, very, very, very big mistake and we are not going to accept the matter going on for the next few days,” he said.
Over the past few months, civil unrest has increased over the blockade of investigations and delays in the disfranchisement of former ministers and parliamentarians whom Judge Bitar has called as witnesses in the investigation, including Diab, who resigned after the explosions, and remained in office until an agreement was reached in September on the formation of the new government.