Hundreds injured as fierce protests rock Beirut amid simmering crisis
Clashes between police and Lebanese protesters wounded more than 220 people on both sides Saturday in the highest such tally in three months of anti-establishment demonstrations.
Thick white smoke covered the downtown Beirut area near Parliament as police and protesters engaged in confrontations that saw groups of young men hurl stones and firecrackers at police who responded with water cannons and tear gas. Some protesters were seen vomiting on the street from inhaling the gas.
The sound of ambulance sirens rang out across Beirut as the Red Cross reported 80 wounded had been taken to hospitals and 140 more were treated on site.
The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 revived this week as a deepening economic crisis increases pressure to form a new government.
No progress appears to have been made towards finalizing the cabinet, which protesters demand be comprised of independent experts and exclude all established political parties.
Lebanon has witnessed three months of protests against the political elite who have ruled the country since the end of the 1975-90 civil war. The protesters blame politicians for widespread corruption and mismanagement in a country that has accumulated one of the largest debt ratios in the world.
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