Tensions as PSP Supporters Confront FPM Demo outside Central Bank
Angry supporters of the Progressive Socialist Party on Thursday tried to reach a demo held by the Free Patriotic Movement outside the central bank on Beirut's Hamra Street.
Army troops and riot police separated between the two groups to prevent any violence.
The PSP supporters arrived on the scene of the demo chanting slogans in support of PSP leader Walid Jumblat and carrying flags of their party.
FPM supporters meanwhile said PSP elements gathering near Jumblat's residence in Clemenceau attacked some of them physically and verbally and prevented buses carrying demonstrators from reaching the sit-in.
Dozens of FPM supporters had earlier managed to reach the sit-in outside the central bank. They were later joined by dozens others whose buses took different routes to avoid friction with the PSP supporters.
The rally was organized by the FPM’s anti-corruption committee to demand “the recovery of money smuggled abroad and the unveiling of all facts in this file.”
"No leader is a red line, no bank is a red line, the central bank governor is not a red line and no oil cartel is a red line," an FPM official said in a speech at the demo.
Another official said further popular protests will be staged in the coming period.
Activists from the anti-government protest movement had earlier in the day plastered posters criticizing the FPM’s “schizophrenia” on a wall outside the bank.
“How can someone rally against themselves?”, “Who extended Riad Salameh’s term?” and “Are you in power or in the opposition?”, read some of the posters.