Offices of two major parties set on fire, Lebanon’s state-run agency reports | World news

Attackers in northern Lebanon set fire to the offices of two major political parties on Sunday, state-run National News Agency has said.

The assaults came just hours after Beirut, the capital, was rocked by the most violent government crackdown on protesters since nationwide demonstrations began two months ago.

Lebanese security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and used water cannons throughout the night to disperse protesters in the city centre and around parliament.

The overnight confrontations left more than 130 people injured, according to the Red Cross and the Lebanese Civil Defense.

On Sunday the local office for resigned prime minister Saad Hariri’s political party in Kharibet al-Jindi was torched and its windows were broken.

Protesters throw stones to the police as clashes erupt during a protest in downtown Beirut.

Protesters throw stones to the police as clashes erupt during a protest in downtown Beirut. Photograph: Lewis Joly/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

In a separate attack in Akkar district, assailants stormed the local office of the largest party in parliament, affiliated with president Michel Aoun and headed by foreign minister Gebran Bassil. Their party said the contents of the office in the town of Jedidat al-Juma had also been smashed and burned.

Lebanon is facing one of its worst economic crises in decades, and the protesters accuse the political class which has been ruling for three decades of mismanagement and corruption.

The violence comes a day before the president is due to hold talks with different parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister on Monday.

On Sunday interior minister Raya Haffar al-Hassan ordered an investigation into the clashes which she said had injured both protesters and security forces.

Al-Hassan blamed what she called “infiltrators“ for instigating the friction and called on the demonstrators to be wary of those who want to exploit their protests for political reasons.

The nationwide protests began on 17 October and the government headed by Hariri resigned two weeks later. Political parties have since been bickering over the shape and form of the new cabinet. Protesters want a technocratic government, not affiliated with established political parties.

After weeks of back and forth, Hariri has emerged as the likely candidate for the job.

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