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Anti-US protest in Lebanon turns violent

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Palestinians clash with Lebanese security forces during a protest on Sunday at the U.S. embassy in Awkar, outside Beirut. (Marwan Naami/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

BEIRUT — Lebanese security forces Sunday fired tear gas and water cannons at demonstrators attempting to march on the U.S. Embassy in protest of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Security forces cut off all roads leading to the embassy in northern Beirut to prevent protesters from reaching it. The forces also set up barbed wire about half a mile from the compound.

The forces fired tear gas when the demonstrators tried to breach the barbed wire and reach a closed road leading to the embassy, a police source said.

In response, demonstrators threw stones at the security forces and set nearby garbage drums on fire, witnesses said.

Some protesters also burned an effigy of Trump. Others, waving the Palestinian flag, chanted “God Bless Jerusalem” and “America is the head of terrorism.”

Addressing the rally, Hana Gharib, head of the Lebanese Communist Party, called on Arab countries to stop all cooperation with the U.S. and expel its ambassadors.

“We have chosen to demonstrate in the vicinity of the American embassy to tell the entire world that the U.S. is the head of global terrorism. Its embassy is the symbol of aggression and imperial arrogance,” Gharib said.

Security forces broke up the rally after the demonstrators tried to breach the security cordon, Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported.

Several people reported temporary breathing problems as a result of inhaling tear gas, Lebanese television network LBC said.

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