AMAL, FPM Trade Gunfire Accusations amid Angry Sin el-Fil Demo
Supporters of AMAL Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement on Monday accused each other of firing arms in Sin el-Fil's Mirna Chalouhi area, as an FPM official said guards fired in the air to defend FPM's headquarters after it was attacked by AMAL protesters.
A statement issued by the FPM said guards opened fire and called in the army after AMAL supporters “attacked the FPM's general headquarters in Mirna Chalouhi and pelted the HQ with stones.”
The angry protesters also burned tires outside the headquarters amid a heavy deployment by the army and riot police who separated between the rival sides.
In the statement, the FPM called on its supporters to “refrain from any reaction in all regions and to leave things to security forces.”
It also urged its officials “not to talk to the media about the events and to leave the judgment to the Lebanese people.”
“The FPM remains keen on stability and on protecting the country and reforming the state,” the statement added.
An AMAL statement meanwhile denied that any of the movement's supporters had opened fire at FPM's headquarters.
“Security forces and the army know who opened fire and the AMAL Movement rejects any attack on the offices of any party,” the movement said.
The movement “is helping in containing the reactions to the inciteful remarks that have been voiced and the issue requires the other parties to shoulder their responsibilities and put an end to the inflammatory rhetoric,” AMAL added.
Later in the day, FPM chief Jebran Bassil received a hero's welcome after he arrived at the headquarters to inspect it. He left without making a statement.
Monday's unrest across Lebanon was sparked by the emergence of a video showing Bassil calling Speaker Nabih Berri a "thug" during a closed meeting in Batroun.
The leaked video which emerged Sunday comes amid an escalating dispute between Berri and President Michel Aoun over a decree granting one-year's seniority to a number of army officers.
Bassil is Aoun's son-in-law and heads his Free Patriotic Movement party. The footage drew the ire of Berri's aides and political allies, who lashed out at Bassil. Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil described Bassil in a tweet as "lowly" and a "political dwarf."