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Lebanese continue protests, demand release of detainees

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Anti-government protesters smash a bank widow, during ongoing protests against the Lebanese central bank's governor and against the deepening financial crisis, at Hamra trade street, in Beirut, Lebanon, January 14, 2020. (Photo by AP)

Fresh clashes have erupted between Lebanese protesters and security forces a day after banks came under attack in the capital Beirut during an angry demonstration against stiff capital controls.

On Wednesday, hundreds of angry protesters marched on Emile El-Helou police station (Sakanet El-Helou) in Mar Elias, demanding the release of around 60 detainees, who were arrested following the previous night’s clashes.

Using burning tires and garbage, protesters closed roads that lead to the police station. They also started throwing fireworks at the security forces, which resulted in more arrests.

Police fired tear gas at the protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

According to security forces, some 47 policemen were injured during the hours-long clashes that erupted near the Central Bank of Lebanon on Tuesday evening, the first day of what they called a “week of wrath.”

The Tuesday rally turned violent as protesters tried to push their way through the security forces deployed outside the bank. Police lobbed volleys of tear gas at the protesters, who responded with rocks and firecrackers.

The demonstrators denounced the bank governor and policies they say have only deepened the country’s financial woes.

The clashes marked an end to a lull in the three-months-long protests.

Since September, banks have capped the amount of dollars customers can withdraw or transfer abroad.

Lebanese demonstrators accuse banks of holding their deposits hostage while allowing politicians and bank owners to transfer funds abroad.

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