The destruction of a hospital in Gaza just as President Biden was arriving in Israel has led to numerous demonstrations inflaming an already volatile situation.
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Violent demonstrations erupted across the Arab world in response to the explosion that blasted Gaza’s al-Ahli Hospital where thousands of Palestinians had sought refuge from Israeli airstrikes.
WhoWhatWhy’s Hunter Williamson was on the scene in Beirut with his camera as protesters tried to attack the American embassy.
Here is his report.
BEIRUT — At midnight we could see several hundred protesters beginning to gather outside the barricade blocking the road to the American embassy. They were waving Palestinian and Hamas flags and chanting slogans against America and Israel.
A small group of protesters cut through concertina wire that Lebanese security forces were using to block the road. The security forces responded with water cannons and tear gas. Small groups of protesters managed to get through the wire and started throwing rocks at the security forces as the tear gas intensified.
After that it was a cat-and-mouse game of skirmishes between the protesters and security forces. As the clashes continued, a group of protesters broke into a commercial building and set fire to it. The flames quickly engulfed the building and burned throughout the night. The security forces finally overwhelmed the marauding groups and scattered them into the night.
I talked with one of the protesters as he was leaving the demonstration. “Jerusalem is for everyone,” he said. “I came here because we want to liberate Jerusalem. We are not afraid of anyone, not Israel, not the US. God is on our side. This war is against all Arabs. We all have to fight. Even if we don’t liberate Palestine now, we will make it free, even if it takes 100 years.”
I asked his name. “Abu Obaida,” he said. Abu Obaida (clearly not his name) is the spokesman for Hamas.