Tripoli erupts in protest after Lebanon military accused of deadly migrant boat capsizing

Tripoli erupts in protest after Lebanon military accused of deadly migrant boat capsizing
A neighbourhood in Tripoli witnessed protests, riots, clashes and gunfire with army soldiers on Sunday after a boat smuggling dozens of people sunk off the city's coast.
2 min read
25 April, 2022
Saturday night's boat disaster was the biggest of its kind to happen in Lebanese waters [Getty/AFP]

Angry residents in north Lebanon's Tripoli protested on Sunday night following a devastating incident that saw an overloaded migrant boat sink off the city's coast killing at least seven passengers.

Gunshots rang out in Tripoli's Qibbeh neighbourhood, where the demonstrations were concentrated, and many of the victims of the boat sinking - blamed on the Lebanese military - were from.

Locals smashed military posts and threw stones at army vehicles that were trying to quell the angry protests with some reports of injuries.

Protesters called on the city's MPs and ministers to "leave immediately", warning of an escalation.

It comes after the Lebanese military was accused of ramming the migrant boat, causing it to sink with dozens feared dead.

In a separate incident in Tripoli, a man was shot in the head due to a personal dispute.

More gunshots were heard on Monday in different parts of the city during funeral processions.

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Lebanese rescue teams continued their search in the Mediterranean for survivors on Monday after the boat capsized while being pursued by naval forces, with many still missing. Passengers on the boat included Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

The maritime disaster occurred late on Saturday and ignited widespread rage just three weeks before 15 May parliamentary elections.

The United Nations refugee agency said the boat was carrying at least 84 people when it capsized, about three nautical miles off the coast of Tripoli.

At least seven were confirmed dead by Monday, and the number is expected to rise. It is the biggest incident of its kind to happen in Lebanese waters.

Tripoli is by far the poorest city in Lebanon and suffers from a high rate of unemployment. The country’s unprecedented economic meltdown has added to its woes.

It is also home to some of Lebanon and the Arab world’s richest business people, including current Prime Miniter Najib Mikati.