On October 17, 2023, an airstrike destroyed Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital. The strike appears to have been carried out by Israel’s military. It killed many medical personnel and hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children.
On the following day, after news of the hospital’s destruction emerged, pro-Palestinian protesters converged on the United States Embassy in Beirut to condemn the strike as part of a national ‘Day of Rage’ .
I travelled to Lebanon on that day to report on the ‘Day of Rage’ protests and the rising tensions in south Lebanon between Israeli forces and those of Hezbollah.
When I arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on the afternoon of October 18, I found a chaotic scene. Over one thousand indignant, pro-Palestinian protesters were clashing with heavily armed Lebanese soldiers. The soldiers had blocked access to the U.S. Embassy with barbed wire. A fire was raging near the barbed wire, and protesters were hurling rocks at the soldiers. Within minutes of my arrival, the soldiers charged the protesters, firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
My video report of what happened at the U.S. Embassy appears below in five parts.
In Part 1, I describe what happened during a lull in the clashes:
In Part 2, soldiers charge at the protesters. The protesters initially retreat but then regroup. They charge back at the soldiers, but are met with a barrage of tear gas. Some of them are overcome by the noxious fumes.
In Part 3, after retreating from the barricade that blocked access to the Embassy, the protesters divided into three groups at an intersection nearby. The soldiers charged into the intersection, determined to take control of it. Initially, some of the protesters stood their ground and threw rocks at the soldiers from three angles. The soldiers then began firing rubber bullets. Some of them picked up rocks and threw them back at the protesters.
In Part 4, after soldiers secure control of the intersection, reinforcements arrive in military vehicles.
In the fifth and final Part, I surveyed the aftermath of the protest near the barbed wire barricade.
In the days ahead, I plan to visit Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and certain areas of south Lebanon. As usual, you can follow my reporting on this website.