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Conflict Incident Report
Pro-Berri protests spread across Beirut
Supporters of Speaker Nabih Berri took to the streets, blocking roads close to Free Patriotic Movement offices in reaction to a leaked video of Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil calling the speaker a "thug."
Assault rifles were fired into the air near FPM offices in Mirna Chalouhli as protesters blocked streets. It wasn't immediately clear who initiated the gunfire with both the Amal Movement and the FPM each blaming the other.
Lebanese Army units and Internal Security Forces deployed near the center to prevent Berri's supporters reaching the building.
Bassil arrived to the center at around 9 p.m. where he met with the party's supporters.
Protesters also blocked roads near Al-Tayouneh roundabout.
"Berri was humiliated," a protester told The Daily Star. "He is the Parliament speaker."
Earlier in the afternoon, around 100 supporters of Speaker Nabih Berri blocked the main road through Beirut’s Mar Elias area also in reaction to the leaked video.
Banners and posters displaying the image of President Michel Aoun were taken down in different areas in the southern suburbs.
Protesters lit tires and stopped traffic near an FPM office in Mar Elias mid-afternoon. The demonstrators set fire to garbage bins and one protester held up a handwritten sign saying: "This is Nabih Berri, you idiots."
"We will give our sweat and blood for Nabih Berri," protesters chanted.
The supporters cut off roads in Corniche al-Mazraa leading to Mar Elias, local media reported. They also blocked roads in Bechara al-Khoury and near Salim Salam.
The state-run National News Agency reported that an Army unit deployed to Mar Elias's main street in order to disperse the crowd and reopen the road.
A security source told The Daily Star that residents of Tyre and its suburbs have also gathered in support of Berri.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued a statement around 6.30 p.m. appealing for calm and saying: “I appeal to all concerned to work to overcome that storm that blew on the country today, the challenges we are facing are more dangerous than verbal violence that we are seeing."