Heavy gunfire echoed through the streets of Lebanon on Thursday after a morning of protests descended into violent clashes that left at least four dead and more than two dozen injured, according to the authorities and video from the scene.
The Lebanese military was deployed to try to calm the streets, responding to reports of snipers hiding on rooftops and running gun battles. It was not immediately clear what set off the clashes.
The violence was focused on two neighborhoods with longstanding tensions — one a stronghold for a Shiite Muslim faction and another for a Christian faction, according to live video from the scene broadcast by Al Jazeera.
The day began with supporters of the Shiite militant and political group Hezbollah and its allies, wearing black, gathered at the Beirut Justice Palace. They called for the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar from the investigation into the huge 2020 explosion at the Beirut port, accusing him of bias.