Lebanon quells riot, arrests protesters at US embassy in Beirut
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Lebanon quells riot, arrests protesters at US embassy in Beirut

Security forces use water cannon and tear gas to disperse demonstration against Trump recognition of Jerusalem

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas to disperse protestors as a fire burns in a dumpster during a demonstration outside the US embassy in Awkar, on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut, December 10, 2017. (ANWAR AMRO/AFP)
Lebanese security forces fire tear gas to disperse protestors as a fire burns in a dumpster during a demonstration outside the US embassy in Awkar, on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut, December 10, 2017. (ANWAR AMRO/AFP)

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannons on Sunday at demonstrators near the US embassy as they protested Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

An AFP correspondent in Awkar outside the capital Beirut said several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered near the US embassy, located in the area.

They were blocked from reaching the complex by a metal gate sealing the road leading to the embassy, and security forces fired tear gas and water cannons to repel demonstrators who tried to open the gate by force.

Several people were injured by rocks, tear gas, and rubber bullets, the correspondent said.

There was no immediate comment from security forces.

Protestors waving Palestinian and Lebanese flags, and sporting black-and-white checked keffiyeh scarves, chanted slogans against US President Donald Trump, who on Wednesday recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A group of demonstrators set alight an effigy of the US president, whose decision has upended decades of American diplomacy and an international consensus to leave the status of Jerusalem to be resolved in negotiations.

Trump in his White House speech insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, and described his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality. He stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

The demonstrators included members of Palestinian parties, as well as Lebanese Islamists and leftists.

By early afternoon, the bulk of the protesters had departed, and security forces moved in to arrest a few remaining demonstrators.

The head of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, has called for a mass demonstration against Trump’s decision on Monday in the group’s southern Beirut suburbs stronghold.

“I am calling on men, women, young and old, the southern suburbs, Beirut and all those who wish to join in from across Lebanon,” Nasrallah said, also inviting residents of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in Lebanon, including those who fled or were expelled from their homes after Israel’s founding, as well as their descendants.

Israel and Lebanon are technically at war. Following a Hezbollah cross-border attack and kidnapping in 2006 during which 10 IDF soldiers were killed, Israel fought a devastating war against the terror group.

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