Rival demos were staged Wednesday evening in downtown Beirut on the eve of the binding parliamentary consultations to pick a new premier.
As anti-government protesters marched from an area near parliament towards the Center House — ex-PM Saad Hariri’s residence — in rejection of his expected return as premier, backers of al-Mustaqbal Movement staged a rival demo in the area in his support.
Security forces separated between the two sides to prevent any violence, as activists accused Hariri’s supporters of hurling stones at them.
Videos circulated on social media showed the two sides chanting rival slogans.
Hariri’s supporters were later accused of torching the “fist of the revolution” statue at nearby Martyrs Square.
Al-Mustaqbal Movement meanwhile issued a statement distancing itself from the “condemned” incident and asking security agencies to “arrest the culprits whoever they may be.”
Hariri had resigned following the eruption of the October 2019 anti-government protests and has emerged as the only PM candidate in the consultations that will be held on Thursday.