Anti-government labor demonstrations exploded into violent riots Thursday, triggering clashes with the Lebanese army and setting one complete floor of the 6th story headquarters of Lebanon's labor ministry ablaze.
Lebanese soldiers clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators trying to hijack a military truck loaded with weapons in suburban el Sollom neighborhood on Beirut's southern edge on Thursday. Police reports said at least five demonstrators were killed and eight were injured.
The army command said in a statement the demonstrators attacked the truck with the apparent purpose of seizing the weapons, but press reports from the scene said the troops were trying to open a road blocked by burning tires.
El Sollom neighborhood is known to be a traditional Hizbullah stronghold.
The attack on the labor ministry, which capped 6 hours of confrontations, was staged by 300 rioters who smashed furniture and hurled computers and other equipment out of the windows at the labor ministry compound, police said.
The violence erupted in the early afternoon during a day-long labor strike that was called by the General Workers Confederation to protest the failure of the government to harness soaring fuel prices. (Albawaba.com.com)
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