More than 220 people were also injured, including several when security forces opened fire on a group in Al Nour Square.
Beirut, Lebanon – Hundreds of mourners in Tripoli attended the funeral of Omar Tayba on Thursday, who was injured during Wednesday night’s protests and riots in the city, fueled by anger over difficult living conditions.
More than 220 people were injured on Wednesday evening, which marked the third consecutive night of protests.
Several of these people were injured when security forces opened fire on a group of protesters throwing stones at Al Nour Square in the city.
Tayba was taken to Nini Hospital at around 9.40pm (7.40pm GMT) in “very critical condition” after being “shot in the lower back,” the hospital said in a statement which added he had suffered emergency surgery but died of his injuries Thursday morning.
In a widely shared video, an unidentified protester said the riots took place after authorities failed to respond to long-standing grievances and demands for basic necessities, including electricity and education.
“You tell me why I threw a stone when you blew up Beirut. Are you holding me responsible for a rock? he said, referring to the Beirut explosion in August last year that killed over 200 people and injured over 6,000 and destroyed much of the city near the port.
“If you besieged someone from all sides, they will come after you. We have no other way to express ourselves than to throw stones.
On Wednesday, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) said they were “obliged to defend our centers by all legitimate means” amid riots near the city’s Serail, an official building.
ISF tweeted that it would treat “the attackers with severity and firmness, using all means available under the law” and later added that two grenades thrown at its officers injured nine.
Since the protests began on Monday, more than 300 people have been injured.
The recent protests were sparked by a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown implemented without provision of assistance in a country where more than 50% of the population is below the poverty line.
Tripoli was at the heart of an uprising in the country in October 2019 that sought to remove political leaders, many of whom have been in power for decades.
These officials drove the country into an unprecedented economic and financial crisis that saw tens of thousands of people lose their jobs as the local currency lost 80% of its value.
The World Bank has called the Lebanese crisis a “deliberate depression” resulting from inaction and mismanagement by the country’s political and financial authorities.
Tripoli, the second most populous city in the country, is one of the poorest despite being home to several of the country’s wealthy politicians, including billionaire former prime minister Najib Mikati and his brother Taha.