Violence flares at protest near U.S. Embassy in Lebanon


Violence flares at protest near U.S. Embassy in Lebanon
Protesters are sprayed with water near the U.S. embassy in Awkar east of Beirut, Lebanon December 10,2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water canons at protesters near the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon on Sunday during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, set fires in the street and threw projectiles toward security forces that had barricaded the main road to the U.S. Embassy in the Awkar area north of Beirut.

Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist Party Hanna Gharib declared the United States “the enemy of Palestine” and the U.S. Embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression” that must be closed.

Protesters are seen near the U.S. embassy in Awkar east of Beirut, Lebanon December 10,2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Late on Saturday Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo urged the United States to abandon its decision and said the move would spur violence throughout the region.

Israel says that all of Jerusalem is its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.

Protesters are sprayed with water near the U.S. embassy in Awkar east of Beirut, Lebanon December 10,2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The government of Lebanon, which hosts about 450,000 Palestinian refugees, has condemned Trump’s decision. Lebanese President Michel Aoun last week called the move a threat to regional stability.

 The powerful Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah on Thursday said it backed calls for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel in response to the U.S. decision.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also called for a protest against the decision in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday.

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