Rage in Lebanon, as protesters dare American embassy over Israeli war on Gaza


LEBANON – Protesters, waving Palestinian and Lebanese party flags, threw rocks, water bottles and firecrackers at the security barricade, constructed on the road leading to the United States Embassy in a northern suburb of Beirut on Wednesday.

Aljezeera reported that security forces responded with tear gas that pushed the protesters back.

Overlooking the protest from the periphery, a 20-year-old Palestinian man from Nahr el-Bared, a refugee camp near the city of Tripoli in north Lebanon, rubbed his eyes.

He had just come back from the front of the protest.

“I wanted to go inside and ‘kharreb el-dineh’,” he said, using an expression that means ‘to cause havoc’ but literally translates to ‘destroy the world’.

“I came to protest here because America is supporting Israel,” he said.

Read more: Israel denies killing 500 in hospital bombing in Gaza, blames Islamic Jihad group

Technically at war, Lebanon and Israel have no diplomatic relations.

Instead, thousands of protesters rallied at the United States embassy on Wednesday, calling for an end to hostilities as a potential Israeli ground invasion looms over Gaza.

Protesters waved Palestinian and Lebanese party flags – including that of Hezbollah, who had called for “a day of unprecedented anger” ahead of the demonstration.

The protesters travelled by bus, car and motorised scooter, and came from all over Lebanon to express their rage at what they consider Washington’s unflinching backing of Israel and its war crimes in Gaza.

The US sends US$3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel and has historically supported their ally in the Middle East, regardless of which political party is in the White House.

Flags from these Lebanese political parties were waved next to the Palestinian flag at the protest where some attendees were neither Palestinian nor publicly supporting a party.

“I am a Lebanese Maronite and they bombed a Christian hospital,” a 40-year-old man who identified himself as Abou Elias el-Hajj said from the protest’s periphery.

“Anywhere they are protesting America, I will be there,” he said.

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