Police fire tear gas and water cannons during protests against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
(MEE) — Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannons on Sunday at demonstrators near the US embassy as they protested against 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.
Middle East Eye reported from the scene:
Live outside the US embassy in beirut
Posted by Middle East Eye on Sunday, December 10, 2017
Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, set fires in the street and threw projectiles towards security forces who had barricaded the main road to the US Embassy.
Some demonstrators attempted to remove a roadblock protecting the embassy in an attempt to break in.
Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist Party Hanna Gharib declared the United States “the enemy of Palestine” and the US Embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression” that must be closed.
Protesters burned US and Israeli flags. Several people were injured by rocks and tear gas, the correspondent said.
There was no immediate comment from security forces.
Protesters chanted slogans against President Donald Trump, who on Wednesday recognised 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.
The demonstrators included members of Palestinian parties as well as Lebanese Islamists and leftists.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, including those who fled or were expelled from their homes after Israel’s founding, as well as their descendants.
Israel occupied southern Lebanon for 22 years before withdrawing in 2000. The two countries remain technically at war.
In 2006, Israel fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in Lebanon that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 120 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
Hezbollah on Thursday said it backed calls for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel in response to the US decision.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also called for a protest against the decision in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday.
At a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil called for preemptive measures against the US to prevent it moving its embassy
“Pre-emptive measures [must be] taken against the decision … beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions,” Bassil said at the meeting in Cairo.
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