BEIRUT (Press TV) – More than a dozen people have sustained injuries as clashes broke out between Lebanese security forces and protesters in the capital Beirut and two major cities against deteriorating economic and living conditions.
The clashes on Saturday came as the national currency plunged to a new record low on the black market against the United States dollar.
Dozens of angry Lebanese took to the streets of the northern coastal city of Tripoli to denounce the Lebanese pound depreciation and “difficult living conditions”, the official National News Agency (NNA) reported.
Some protesters managed to break through the gates of a branch of the central bank and enter the courtyard, the report added. Army forces, however, managed to prevent them from reaching the building.
Demonstrators also set fire to the entrance of a government office, AFP news agency reported.
Others were seen trying to break into the homes of two lawmakers, but were stopped by security forces.
Arabic-language Lebanon 24 news website reported that while army troops were fortifying their positions in Tripoli, several unknown individuals threw a grenade at government forces stationed in front of al-Tal police station in the city.
The grenade reportedly wounded a Lebanese officer and a member of the General Security Directorate.
Five Lebanese soldiers and a member of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces were also injured in Tripoli riots.
The casualties were not limited to Lebanese intelligence and security forces. Five protesters were also injured in the clashes, some of whom were taken to hospital to receive medical treatment.
Elsewhere in the southern city of Sidon, protesters tried to storm another branch of the central bank but were pushed back by security forces.
The crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.
Sanctions have become the U.S.’ weapon of choice to combat its rivals and Lebanon is on the front line of the growing financial war waged by the U.S.
Over 250 of Washington’s sanction targets are in Lebanon or related to the country. This number has been growing quickly, all while U.S. sanctions continue to snowball in neighboring Syria and the region.
Compounding the woes, Saudi Arabia has imposed its own sanctions, including banning its citizens from traveling to Lebanon where Riyadh-backed elements have been jockeying for position.