Lebanese Prosecutor Releases Detainees after Night of Severe Violence
Lebanon’s public prosecutor on Sunday ordered the release of 34 people arrested on Saturday night during the latest flareup of violence in ongoing anti-government protests. Close to 400 people were reported injured in pitched battles between protesters and security forces during the course of the afternoon and into the night, with over 120 of them requiring hospital treatment. It is unclear how many arrests were made. Lebanese citizens began taking to the streets in mid-October after the announcement of yet another tax for dwindling public coffers. Protesters quickly denounced the government’s financial policies and alleged that widespread pubic corruption was a major part of the problem. Their calls for a new government were met with the resignation of prime minister Saad al-Hariri. Yet throughout, the protests were peaceful and even festive. Observers say the recent turn to violence is a sign that citizens are deeply unhappy with attempts to form a new government, and that security forces have begun losing patience of their own.