01:28 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Supporters of the Lebanese Shi'ite groups Hezbollah and Amal in Beirut

    Eyewitnesses Say Shia Party Supporters Attack Demonstrators, Burn Tents in Southern Lebanon

    © REUTERS / MOHAMED AZAKIR
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    BEIRUT (Sputnik) – Supporters of the Amal Movement, a Shia-affiliated political party in Lebanon, have attacked anti-government demonstrators in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, burning their tents, eyewitnesses have said.

    "Amal supporters attacked a tent camp in central Tyre and started pouring gasoline when there were still people left in the tents. They caught some of the people and beat them up. The armed forces came quickly and encircled the peaceful demonstrators, protecting them from the aggressive groups", one eyewitness said in the early hours of Tuesday.

    Local media reported that at least three people were hospitalized after the attack. Videos released on social media showed burning tents with gunfire heard in the background.

    Eyewitnesses added that military servicemen fired into the air trying to scare Amal supporters away from the demonstrators.

    On Monday, Lebanon's security forces fired tear gas to break up clashes between demonstrators protesting against the government and supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, in Beirut’s central Martyrs’ Square.

    The rallies began in the early hours of Monday after a video was published on the internet in which one of the demonstrators insulted the leader of the Hezbollah movement. The Shia parties’ supporters managed to destroy a protester camp in central Beirut before security forces arrived.

    The Shia Hezbollah political party and Amal Movement were both represented in the Lebanese government until the cabinet of then-prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on 29 October. The resignation came after almost two weeks of anti-government rallies, triggered by increasing costs of living, new taxes, and fees.

    Tags:
    Hezbollah, Shia, security forces, protests, lebanon
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