BEIRUT — Supporters of the Hezbollah and Amal movements attacked Lebanese anti-government protesters in Beirut on Monday, with army reinforcements intervening to diffuse tensions.
Shortly before midnight on Sunday, men on foot and scooters arrived at a roadblock set up by anti-graft protesters across a key street in the capital, local television showed.
They shouted insults and chanted in support of the chiefs of the Shiite movements Hezbollah and Amal, before briefly breaking through and attacking some demonstrators.
Those at the roadblock chanted "peaceful, peaceful", as the security forces and army reinforcements deployed in a thick line between both sides in the early hours of Monday morning.
The counter-protesters also headed to a main nerve centre of protests nearby and destroyed tents there, a local television channel said.
The tensions came after a peaceful day of demonstrations, more than a month into a spontaneous nationwide street movement against the political elite.
On Saturday, Lebanese security forces briefly detained five youths, including three minors, for allegedly pulling down a sign for President Michel Aoun's political party in the town of Hammana east of Beirut, sparking outrage on social media.
Security forces released them after midnight, the Committee of Lawyers for the Defence of Protesters said.
The army said two of the children were 15 years old and the third was 12. — AFP