BEIRUT (AP) — Protesters closed a major road in northern Lebanon, triggering scuffles with Lebanese troops that left more than a dozen soldiers injured, the Lebanese army said Friday.
The incident occurred late Thursday night when protesters closed the Biddawi road near the northern city of Tripoli. They were protesting electricity cuts that can last for hours each day. Lebanese troops detained some of the protesters who had blocked the road.
Later in the evening, more demonstrators came to the protest site to demand the detainees’ release. They then attacked troops with Molotov cocktails and hurled stones, injuring 14 soldiers, the army said, adding eight protesters were detained in those clashes.
Lebanon has seen increased electricity cuts as the country grapples with its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
Protesters took to the streets in October over proposed new taxes. But the nationwide demonstrations quickly grew into calls for an end to the rule of the political elite that has run the country since the 1975-90 civil war ended.
The protesters blame the politicians for widespread corruption and mismanagement, which they say are the main reasons for the country’s financial crisis.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in late October, meeting a key demand of the protesters. However, that’s left the country without a government ever since, as politicians bicker over the shape of the new Cabinet.
Local banks have imposed unprecedented capital controls, putting limits on withdrawals and preventing transfers outside the country.
In Beirut, at least one person was injured Friday during protests calling for the resignation of Beirut’s mayor and governor over alleged corruption within the municipality. The protesters were attacked by men who support the two local officials.
Police deployed to separate the two sides, after which the protesters left the area outside the municipality building in central Beirut.