BEIRUT: At least six people were killed in Beirut on Thursday amid a protest organized by Hezbollah and its allies against the lead judge probing last year’s blast at the city’s port.
Dozens were wounded in the most protracted street fighting in the city in years.
The protest, called by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, was demanding the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar from the investigation.
But it turned into armed clashes between the groups’ supporters and armed men whose political identity was unknown.
Rocket-propelled grenades and sniper shots were fired during the protest that people called a “genocide against them.” Among the dead was a woman shot in the head while she was sitting in her house.
Serious material damage was also reported in the area, according to preliminary reports from the Lebanese Red Cross.
People were trapped inside houses and shops, while hundreds of students were stuck inside their schools near the violence-hit area.
The clashes lasted around three hours, with the Lebanese army failing in its attempts to contain the situation.
The injured and trapped made calls to be evacuated.
Students in schools rushed to the hallways separating classrooms. Several were injured by shattered glass and were taken to hospital.
Lebanon’s army said on Thursday evening that it arrested nine people, including a Syrian, over the violence.
The army said on Twitter that it remained deployed in the area to ensure violence did not occur again.