On Thursday evening, a round of violence in the Lebanese capital, resulting in at least six deaths and injured more than 30, came to a stop.
Conflict engulfed the city after gunfire broke out at a protest by supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement near the Palace of Justice. Hundreds of factions of the two Shia groups had gathered to demand the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, the judge heading the investigation into last year’s deadly Beirut port blast.
Remarking on the violence, both Hezbollah and Amal groups accused in a joint statement “armed group” affiliated with the Lebanese Forces party, led by Samir Geagea, of being behind the attack.
Both groups called for the prosecution of those accountable for the violence. The protest began following the dismissal of a court complaint against the judge and allowed him to continue the investigation.
The groups accuse the judge of bias, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently saying that Bitar’s work “involves political targeting and has nothing to do with justice.”
According to the Lebanese Red Cross, the number of fatalities currently stands at six, and more than 30 people have been wounded. The update came after Lebanon’s Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi told reporters that five people were killed and at least 16 injured.
“The problem started with sniping, and the first person was hit in the head… the organizers of the demonstration assured us that it was peaceful,” the Lebanese interior minister further stated.
Elsewhere, the Lebanese military said in a statement that the protesters were attacked while heading toward the Palace of Justice. The army urged people to vacate the area and warned that any individuals with weapons would be shot.