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Hundreds wounded as clashes in Lebanon escalate

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Almost 400 people were wounded Saturday during running battles between Lebanese anti-government protesters and security forces in the capital Beirut, rescue services said.

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It was the heaviest toll since the protests erupted three months ago, with the Red Cross and Civil Defence saying 377 people at least were rushed to hospitals or treated at the scene.

Protesters had called Saturday for a week of "anger" as an economic crisis deepened while efforts remained deadlocked to form a new government to replace the one that stepped down under street pressure late last year.

More demonstrations are expected later Sunday as part of the wave of popular protests that has demanded the wholesale ouster of the Lebanese political class, which the activists condemn as inept and corrupt.

Saturday's clashes began after dozens of protesters, who came from the country's north, east and Beirut, some concealing their faces with scarves, threw rocks, plant pots and other objects at anti-riot police guarding the road leading to parliament.

Others tried to breach barbed wire barricades to reach the legislature building or charged police lines using traffic signs as weapons.

The security forces responded with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

The pitched street battles lasted for nearly nine hours and were among the worst scene of rioting since protests broke out in mid-October.

The Civil Defence said late Saturday 43 people were taken to hospital and that it had treated at the scene 114 others who were "slightly injured or suffered from breathing problems".

The Red Cross said it had rushed 80 people to city hospitals while 140, including both protesters and members of the security forces, were given first aid at the scene of the clashes.

FINAL UPDATE: 18 ambulances, 80 EMTs and 6 dispatchers from the LRC responded to the protests in downtown Beirut. Over 80 victims have been transported to nearby hospitals and over 140 injured were treated at the scene. LRC teams are still on standby and ready to respond. pic.twitter.com/p1OG7WFqwl

— Lebanese Red Cross (@RedCrossLebanon) January 18, 2020

The state-run National News Agency said around 30 people were detained following the violence but were later released.

Meanwhile security forces said they had opened an investigation after a video shared online showed police beating up people believed to be protesters as they were brought to a Beirut police statiRead More – Source

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