A Lebanese military court charged 68 people today in relation to the recent shooting at a Hezbollah-organized protest.
Judge Fadi Akiki charged the individuals with murder, attempted murder, inciting sectarian divisions and possessing unlicensed weapons of war. A total of 18 have already been arrested, the official National News Agency reported.
The shooting occurred on Oct. 14 at a protest in Beirut organized by Hezbollah and its fellow Shiite Islamist organization Amal. The demonstration was against the investigation into the 2020 Beirut port explosion. The probe’s judge had recently issued an arrest warrant for a Hezbollah-allied minister, leading to criticism from the paramilitary group. At least six people were killed in the attack. Hezbollah blamed the right-wing Christian group Lebanese Forces for the bloodshed, though its leader denied involvement.
The shooting and its aftermath threatened to stoke sectarian tensions in Lebanon, which is also suffering from a horrific economic crisis. The protest shooting took place close to the site of the 1975 bus bombing that sparked the Lebanese civil war. Lebanon has a mixed population of Christians, Sunnis, Shiites and others.
The charges followed the completion of the Lebanese military's investigation into the shooting, the military said in a statement.