Two tobacco workers were killed, and more than twenty people injured, in a violent clash on Wednesday (Jan. 24) between demonstrators and security forces in the southern Lebanon centre of Nabatieh.
Two tobacco workers were killed, and more than twenty people injured, in a violent clash on Wednesday (Jan. 24) between demonstrators and security forces in the southern Lebanon centre of Nabatieh. The deaths came as about 4,000 people tried to occupy the Nabatieh headquarters of the tobacco marketing authority for the second day running. The previous day, tobacco workers staged a sit-in at the headquarters in support of demands for higher tobacco prices for the growers. The demonstrations in Nabatieh continued on Thursday the day after the deaths. Blood could still be seen in the streets as a funeral service was held for the men killed in the clash.
A Lebanese Defence Ministry statement said the demonstrators opened fire and threw stones at police and troops first. Later, demonstrators tried to grab a soldier's weapon and an Army captain was seriously wounded. The statement said the "attackers" didn't heed warnings and troops had to open fire to disperse them. Two tobacco workers were killed and four others wounded.
SYNOPSIS: Protests and mourning wire combined in southern Lebanon on Thursday after two tobacco workers were killed in violent clashes with police and troops. The men died the day before when about four thousand protesters marched on the Nabatien headquarters of the tobacco marketing authority.
The protesters were demanding better prices for tobacco growers. This is the third consecutive day of demonstrations supporting their demands. On the first day, growers and their supporters staged a sit-in at the marketing board's building. The second day they returned in force.
Police and troops were guarding the building, and in the gunfire two workers were killed and four others wounded. A funeral for the dead men was held in a village near Nabatieh the day after the violent clash. A Defence Ministry statement said the troops had given warnings before opening fire.
The statement said the growers wounded in the clash were not seriously hurt. Both dead men had lived in farmland around Nabatieh.
The Defence Ministry account of the incident stated that the demonstrators were the first to begin shooting. Later they tried to grab one of the soldiers' weapons and an Army captain was seriously wounded. Twenty one other security men, troops and police were also injured in the clash.
As demonstrations continued in Nabatieh, security forces were taking no chances at the tobacco marketing authority's building. Fearing a third attempt to occupy the premises, troops were reinforced by an armoured car.
Rubble, mainly stones thrown by the demonstrations, littered the area around the building.
Blood could still be seen on the roadway the day after the deaths. The Defence Ministry said troops had no choice but to open fire when demonstrators refused to heed warnings to disperse.