Beirut: Protesters attempt to storm Lebanese government headquarters


Supportors of the March 14 movement, which opposes the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, wave their national flag and the Syrian pre-Baath flag whilst covering their faces from tear gas as they storm the governmental palace in Beirut after the funeral of top intelligence chief General Wissam al-Hassan and his bodyguard, in downtown Beirut, on October 21, 2012. Hassan, a prominent Lebanese figure opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, died when a powerful bomb exploded in an upmarket Beirut suburb on October 19, sparking angry calls for Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government to quit.


Joseph Eid

Hundreds of protesters in Beirut are attempting to storm the government headquarters, as Lebanese soldiers attempt to disperse them with by machine gun bullets and volleys of tear gas from Lebanese soldiers.

The protests in Lebanon's capital are coinciding with the public funeral of top official Wissam al-Hassan, who was one of eight people killed in a car bomb in Sassine Square Friday, the Associated Press reported

The protesters are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and other government ministers who are allies of Syria over al-Hassan's death, Al-Arabiya reported

Many Lebanese have pointed the finger at Syria for the attacks, and some of the opposition forces who coordinated Sunday's protests called it a “day of rage” against the “butcher Bashar Assad and the black regime that rules Syria," RT News reported

More from GlobalPost: Beirut car bomb: Intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan reported dead (VIDEO)

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, said that "he understands the feeling of anger, but that violence and attempts to enter the Serail - the government palace - are unacceptable," CNN reported

“We are here to say in a loud voice that we are with freedom,” Rami Saber, a protester affiliated with one of the anti-Assad Christian parties, told the Financial Times. “We are against the neutral position taken by the government.”

Al-Hassan's funeral procession will take the late official's body to be buried in Beirut's Martyrs Square, next to assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, AP reported. Thousands of people converged in Beirut from around the country to attend the funeral, and security was heightened in the city.

As night fell, violent clashes erupted in Tripoli, Lebanon's second city in the north of the country.

Fighting between residents in the poorer neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbanah, has claimed four lives, two of whom were children, said NOW Lebanon.

Jabal Mohsen, a largely Alawite neighborhood and Bab al-Tabbanah, a Sunni neighborhood, have seen increasing violence during the Syrian civil war.

There are also reports of fighting between unidentified gunmen in Beirut's southern suburbs, largely controlled by the Shia militant group Hezbollah, said Beirut Reporter.

Highways into the area being blocked by masked gunmen who are setting up checkpoints.