Brutal Crackdown on Protesters
Lebanon’s riot police used excessive force against largely peaceful protesters in downtown Beirut on January 18, 2020, in the most brutal crackdown since the nationwide anti-government protests began on October 17.
The riot police used water cannons and launched huge quantities of teargas to disperse protesters, some of whom were throwing projectiles and fireworks at the police, and hurling teargas canisters back at them. The riot police also launched teargas canisters directly at protesters instead of above the crowds, causing serious injuries as canisters struck protesters on the head. They also launched tear gas inside the Mohammad al-Amine mosque, where women, children, and the injured had taken refuge from the violence. The riot police fired rubber bullets at protesters, some of whom were running away. At least one protester was blinded when a rubber bullet hit his right eye. Local media reported that riot police beat and arbitrarily arrested injured protesters as they were being discharged from hospitals.
Charbel Francis a #Lebanese man injured this evening by the @LebISF he describes how he was hit near the @kataeb_Ar house in #Saifi #Beirut #Lebanon
CC: @rayaelhassan#LebanonProtests #لبنان_الجديد #اسبوع_الغضب #لبنان__ينتفض #لبنان_يثور #جل_الديب #جونيه #بيروت #لبنان #الصيفي https://t.co/0vp196Narf pic.twitter.com/DerZ4ANxAf
— Lebanese Bonkers (@BonkersLebanese) January 18, 2020
The Lebanese Red Cross said it treated 140 people hurt at the scene and transported 169 to nearby hospitals during the clashes on January 18 – the highest number of injuries since the protests began. The Lawyers’ Committee for the Defense of Protesters said security forces arrested at least 38 protesters.