Riots by young supporters of Amal and Hezbollah on Sunday night in the Ring area of Beirut were not the first since the beginning of the October 17 movement.
Last month, dozens of the Shiite duo followers destroyed and set fire to tents in Martyrs’ Square and Riad El Solh Square in the center of the capital.
However, the events recorded on the night of Sunday took a more drastic turn as they saw a direct confrontation between the two Shiite parties and the demonstrators.
While the leaders of Amal and Hezbollah renounced any role in the confrontations on the Ring Road in Ashrafieh, where demonstrators were protesting against government formation stalling, Speaker Nabih Berri said on Monday that recent street developments were “condemned by all standards”, both in the center of the capital or on the main roads connecting Beirut to the South.
“In order to avoid strife ... we renew the call for the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army to remain strict in keeping the roads open,” he said.
He also claimed that the violence led to two deaths in a car accident in Jiyyeh.
No official statement was issued by Hezbollah or Amal to deny their relation with the young rioters who attacked protesters at the Ring area. However, sources close to the Shiite duo refuted all claims that the latter wanted to send security messages through those attacks.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the sources said: “The supporters of both parties, Hezbollah and Amal, are sensitive to assaults against Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah as well as to Amal Movement Leader Speaker Nabih Berri. Their reaction was spontaneous.”
In contradiction with the Shiite duo sources, member of the Strong Republic bloc, MP Wehbe Qatisha, said the attacks at the Ring “were an organized move by the coherent and strong Shiite duo.”
“The operation had two main basic objectives: the first is to intimidate the participants in the movement to get them out of the street, and the second is to bring the demonstrators into chaos. They have failed to achieve the two goals,” Qatisha noted.