The shots killed at least one person in Beirut on Thursday when supporters of the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies gathered in the Lebanese capital to protest against the judge investigating the catastrophic port explosion last year. Follow our live coverage.
12:07 am Paris time
It was not immediately clear what triggered the shooting, but tensions were high along a former civil war front line between the Muslim Shiite and Christian areas of Beirut.
The army was very deployed and sent patrols to the area to search for the gunmen. In a statement, Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm and urged people “not to be drawn into civil strife.”
11:55 am Paris time
- Shooting after a key court ruling on the investigation of an explosion in a port
The violence comes when a court on Thursday dismissed a legal complaint against Judge Tarek Bitar, allowing him to resume his investigation into the August blast in the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people and devastated areas of the capital.
Bitar, the target of a political campaign led by the Shiite movements Hezbollah and Amal, was forced to suspend his investigation for the second time in less than a month on Tuesday over lawsuits brought by former ministers that he had summoned on suspicion of criminal negligence.
The suspension coincided with deep divisions within the government over the possibility of replacing the controversial investigator, who is seen as a last hope for justice by many Lebanese but is condemned as biased by political leaders.
11:44 am Paris time
- Gunfire kills at least one and wounds eight others at Beirut protest
Welcome to our live coverage of the clashes in the Lebanese capital, where at least one person was killed when gunfire erupted in a protest calling for the removal of a judge investigating the catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut last year.
The protest in front of the Palace of Justice was called by the powerful Hezbollah group and its allies who demand the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar.
Gunfire echoed through the capital and ambulances rushed to the scene, sirens howling, amid reports of casualties. A Beirut hospital said it received the body of one person who had died and eight who were injured.
The initial shooting has turned into street clashes, says FRANCE 24’s Wassim Nasr, posting pictures of the fight on Twitter.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP, AP)