Lebanon: Flash Analysis and Prediction (15 October 2021)

Situation Report
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Gunfire in central Beirut as Hezbollah and its allies try to stall port blast investigation

At least six people were killed yesterday afternoon in Beirut in the worst civil violence to hit the Lebanese capital since 2008. Gunfire targeted a demonstration called by Shia militia Hezbollah and their allies, Amal, to demand the removal of the judge investigating the explosion that destroyed the city’s port last August, killing 219 people.

The protest began outside the Palace of Justice – Lebanon’s main court building – with the demonstrators claiming that the investigation had become politicised and demanding the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar.

The protesters were targeted as they reached a roundabout in the city’s central Tayouneh-Badaro area – one of the frontlines during the 1975-90 Civil War.

Militia members armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers exchanged sporadic fire for several hours before the Army moved in to restore calm.