Tens of thousands anti-government protesters clashed with police in central Beirut on Sunday evening just hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam hinted he might step down following violence triggered by the month-long 'You Stink' trash protests.
Gunfire was heard as government riot police opened fire in an apparent effort to drive protesters away from central Beirut government offices, witnesses said.
Chants of “Revolution! Revolution!” were ringing through the crowds as police attacked Sunday night.
Thousands of protesters had camped overnight Saturday in the capital's Riad al-Solh square waiting for Prime Minister Tammam Salam's response to Saturday's police violence.
Al-Jazeera reports that in a televised address Sunday morning, Salam said members of the security forces will be held accountable for the violence against protesters . Salam also called on an emergency parliament session on Thursday to deal with the country's ongoing political crisis. "I have been, like many other fellow Lebanese, patient enough, but yesterday's outcry should not be ignored," he said. "I was never in this for a position in government, I am one of you. I am with the people. Do not pit this conflict [as] one camp against the other. Target all the politicians."
Angered by Salam's speech, the protesters chanted: "The people want the fall of the regime".
Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Beirut, said the protests had drawn people from across Lebanon's political divide.
"This is very much a grassroots movement that has come out on to the streets...there seems to be a very significant movement forming here in Beirut. "(The protests) were triggered by the trash crisis but the people we've been speaking to say that this is the straw that broke the camel's back...they point to power shortages, water shortages, inherent corruption within the state."