One killed as protesters defy Aoun’s call to end protests

In Lebanon, a man has received a fatal wound during an altercation with army soldiers as protesters defied a call by President Michel Aoun to leave the streets and let calm return to the country.

The protester was shot and severely wounded by a soldier on Tuesday night as protesters attempted to block a main highway in Khaldeh, a town located 12 kilometers south of the capital Beirut.

The victim — identified as Alaa Abou Fakher, a Progressive Socialist Party supporter — succumbed to gunshot wounds at a hospital, marking the first death since the violent anti-government protests broke out in Lebanon around a month ago.

In a statement, the army said a soldier had opened fire to disperse protesters who were blocking a road in Khaldeh.

The soldier has been taken into custody while an investigation is underway into the incident, according to the army.

The unrest on Tuesday evening followed a speech by President Aoun, in which he urged people to end their protests as efforts are underway to form a government following the resignation of prime minister Saad al-Hariri — a key demand of the demonstrators.

“If you continue in this way, you will strike Lebanon and your interests,” Aoun said during a prime time televised interview on Tuesday.

“We are working day and night to get the situation in order. If they keep going, there is a catastrophe. If they stop, there is still room for (us) to fix things,” he warned.

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