Clashes erupt near US embassy in Lebanon over Jerusalem move

Clashes erupt near US embassy in Lebanon over Jerusalem move
Protests denouncing Trump's Jerusalem announcement near the US embassy complex in Lebanon turned violent on Sunday as police fired tear gas and clashed with activists trying to reach the compound.
2 min read
10 December, 2017
Protesters say police started firing tear gas when they got too close [Twitter/Louisa Loveluck]
Protests close to the US embassy in Lebanon denouncing President Donald Trump's announcement that the US will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital turned violent on Sunday, as police clashed with activists trying to reach the complex.

Lebanese television channels carried dramatic footage showing security forces firing tear gas and unleashing water cannons at protesters gathered near a barrier set up by police around 1km from the heavily guarded embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut.

Protesters threw rocks at the riot police and set fire to garbage dumpsters and tyres nearby, with some cases of suffocation being reported.

Security forces have cordoned off all roads leading to the embassy compound.

Protests were announced for Sunday and Monday by various leftist and Islamist groups, including Lebanon's powerful militant and political group Hizballah, to denounce Trump's announcement on Wednesday that the US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

The controversial announcement has since triggered a major backlash in the Arab and Muslim worlds and protests from the US to Indonesia. 

In Palestine, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Friday when clashes in the occupied West Bank turned deadly. Israeli airstrikes against Gaza, launched on Saturday, have killed a further two Palestinians, after rockets were fired into Israel.

The international community have unanimously condemned the decision, citing the irreparable damage it could have on peace efforts in the region. 

Israel regards Jerusalem, including both its Jewish-majority Western part and Arab-majority East Jerusalem captured in the 1967 war, as its capital.

Nearly the entire world rejects this position, saying Jerusalem's status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City and holy sites revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, is considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law. 

The Palestinians hope it would become the capital of their future state once agreed in final status negotiations with Israel, according to the 1993 Oslo Accords. Trump's move puts this hope in serious jeopardy.