Lebanese army clashes with supporters of Hezbollah, Amal in Beirut

 Lebanese army clashes with supporters of Hezbollah, Amal in Beirut

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese army troops on Tuesday lobbed tear gas to disperse hundreds of supporters of the Shi'ite groups Hezbollah and Amal who tried to storm a main square in central Beirut in anger after a video that purportedly offended revered Shi'ite religious figures, witnesses and television stations said.

Hundreds of youths on motorcycles waving their party and religious flags descended near the main protest area in downtown Beirut, chanting "Shi'ites, Shi'ites." They hurled stones and fireworks at security forces standing nearby, witnesses said.

The video, which inflamed passions in a country where sectarian divisions run deep, was purportedly by a Lebanese Sunni from the northern city of Tripoli who lives abroad.

It marked another violent day of unrest in the capital in a historic wave of protests that has swept Lebanon since Oct. 17 and pushed Saad al-Hariri to resign as prime minister.

The protests erupted from anger at a political elite that has overseen decades of corruption and steered the country toward its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Updated Date: Dec 17, 2019 05:10:54 IST