BEIRUT — Hundreds of Lebanese Armenians converged on Thursday outside the Azerbaijani embassy in Lebanon to protest the lighting military operation last week that resulted in Azerbaijan recapturing Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenians.
The protests quickly turned violent, with protesters hurling stones and fireworks at anti-riot police while attempting to storm the embassy in Ain Aar, east of Beirut. The security forces responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd. More than 20 protesters were injured in the melee, according to the official National News Agency (NNA).
Videos circulating online showed protesters burning photos of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, who threw his support behind last week’s offensive.
Tashnag, an official Armenian political party in Lebanon, had called for Thursday’s protest. Lebanon is home to one of the largest Armenian populations outside Armenia. In May 2000, it became the first Arab country to recognize the Armenian genocide — the massacre of more than 1.5 million ethnic Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century. The Armenians in Lebanon are estimated to number between 120,000 and 150,000.