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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Lebanon elections 2018: Peaceful vote marred by some street violence

One video showed a Hezbollah flag being raised at the site of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

Posters showing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hang outside a polling station during Lebanon's parliamentary elections, in Beirut, Lebanon, on May 6, 2018. Hassan Ammar / AP
Posters showing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hang outside a polling station during Lebanon's parliamentary elections, in Beirut, Lebanon, on May 6, 2018. Hassan Ammar / AP

While Lebanon’s first parliamentary vote in nearly 10 years was a largely peaceful affair, there were sporadic reports of violence before, during, and after Sunday’s vote.

Tweets from a Lebanon-based journalist purported to show Hezbollah supporters on Sunday night waving flags and blocking a road in Beirut, as well as tearing down posters of Saad Hariri, one of the group’s political opponents.

One video showed a Hezbollah flag being raised in front of the St George Hotel on the capital's waterfront, the site of the 2005 bombing that assassinated Saad Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The National could not immediately verify the videos.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to give an address at 5pm on Monday Beirut time. The group appears to have made greater gains than any other in Sunday’s polls.

At least three candidates accused other parties of intimidation prior to and during the election.

Read more: Candidate accuses Hezbollah supporters of attack

Myriam Skaff, a parliamentary candidate in Zahle in eastern Lebanon, said that on Sunday, members of the Lebanese Forces had attacked her car.

Prior to the election, Ali Al Amin, a candidate in southern Lebanon, alleged that he had been attacked by Hezbollah “thugs” who threatened him and knocked out one of his teeth. Another candidate in eastern Lebanon accused Hezbollah supporters of firing at his car.

A spokesperson for Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces did not immediately respond to requests for comments about the alleged incidents on Sunday night. The ministry did say that at least one person had been killed by celebratory gunfire, which began in many locations after preliminary results began to come.

Most people described a festive atmosphere for parties who had won seats. In addition to gunfire, fireworks could be heard and seen across Lebanon Sunday night.

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