BEIRUT, August 9. /TASS/. It took several hours for riot control special formations to push protesters out of the center of the Lebanese capital. By the midnight law enforcement officers had completely forced aggressively disposed activists out of Beirut’s business part, regaining full control of the capital’s Martyrs’ Square, TASS reports from the spot.
According to the civil defense, 490 people were injured in clashes, including around 70 police officers. Five protesters were detained.
Lebanese service members joined the law enforcement efforts and regained control of buildings of the foreign, economy, energy and environment ministries captured earlier by groups of protesters.
Prime Minister of Lebanon Hassan Diab said for the first time on Saturday that he will request an early parliamentary election, which is one of the main requirements of the opposition. "We cannot get out of this crisis without early parliamentary elections," Diab said in a televised address, promising to propose to cabinet a draft bill for early parliamentary polls on August 10.
On Saturday, downtown Beirut transformed into a battlefield between the riot police and protesters. Sami Gemayel, the leader of Lebanon's Kataeb opposition party, called for mass anti-government protests earlier. Particularly, the protesters blamed the ruling coalition for corruption and urged holding an early election and an independent probe into a powerful blast that ripped through Beirut’s port on August 4, claiming 158 lives and destroying the capital’s infrastructure.