A man in Lebanon died of a gunshot wound on Jan. 28 after riot police clashed with protesters who were outraged by the COVID-19 lockdown and the severe economic crisis in the country.
In the northern city of Tripoli, 29-year-old Omar Tayba was injured when protests in the late evening of Jan. 27 violently escalated for the third consecutive night. He later died from his wounds.
“My brother was in Tripoli watching the protests when he was hit. He was transferred to a hospital and died this morning,” Omar’s brother Ahmed told AFP News.
State-owned National News Agency (NNA) reported that 226 people were injured from the clashes, including police officers.
NNA also reported that the police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters who threw petrol bombs and rocks at police. It also reported that protesters attempted to storm the municipal government building in the city.
Witnesses and local media reported that police also fired live ammunition.
Residents in Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon with a population of six million, have been gathering to the streets to protest against the total lockdown, which forbids people, except essential workers, to leave their homes. It also restricts grocery shopping to home deliveries, a service not often available in poorer areas.
Furthermore, several residents of Lebanon’s poorest city have been left without an income since the government imposed the lockdown last Jan. 14 and extended it to Feb. 8 to prevent the country’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
However, hospitals have reported that they are facing shortages in essential equipment and medicines and that their intensive care units are at 94% capacity.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Lebanon has recorded 289,660 cases since the pandemic began.
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