Protesters attack Lebanese embassy in Libya

Protesters attack Lebanese embassy in Libya

Libyan protesters have attacked the Lebanese embassy in Tripoli, causing limited damage, Lebanese Ambassador to Libya Mohammad Sukaina said Monday.

The incident comes one day after supporters of Lebanon’s Shia Amal movement reportedly removed Libyan flags from outside a Beirut convention center to register their opposition to the North African country’s participation in an upcoming economic summit.

Sukaina was quoted by Lebanese media as saying that angry mobs had converged at the embassy’s main gate, where they tore down the Lebanese flag and replaced it with a Libyan one.

The incident caused only minor damage while no embassy staff were harmed, the ambassador said, noting that protesters had failed to breach the embassy building itself.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who is also the leader of Lebanon’s Amal movement, reportedly objects to Libya’s participation in an upcoming Beirut-hosted Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, citing the country’s lack of a functioning government.

On Sunday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala said his country would not send delegates to the summit, which is slated to convene this weekend.

Speaking to the media on Monday, however, Sukaina said he had not yet been informed as to whether or not Libya would send representatives to the event.

“The issue still needs some time to be resolved,” he was quoted as saying.

The ambassador, however, went on to note that the removal of the Libyan flags from the summit venue in Beirut had caused “resentment and anger” on the Libyan street.

Berri and his Amal movement are opposed to Beirut maintaining relations with Tripoli, citing the 1978 disappearance in Libya of Amal founder Imam Musa Sadr along with two companions.

Amal has continued to blame Sadr’s disappearance -- which remains unexplained to this day -- on former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and killed in 2011 in a bloody NATO-backed uprising.