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A peaceful demonstration at the Justice Palace Thursday turned into a bloody clash in which more than 30 people were injured. Some 150 plainclothesmen, set to be Syrian Intelligence operatives, infiltrated the crowd and started beating up demonstrators.

“It was incredible. Those men were beating us up and the army and police stood watching. They could not do anything to stop them,” 29-year-old Rita told Naharnet. She withheld her last name for security considerations.

“I fell on the ground and a man started to beat me up, trample on me and kick me on the arms, the legs and the bottom,” she added.

“More than 30 people were beaten up. They also broke the camera of an MTV cameraman.”

Witnesses said that at around 12.30, unknown men, dressed in black shirts, jeans and military boots started to infiltrate the crowd and start individual disputes.

“They started beating us up. When the army and the police tried to stop them, they were also beaten,” said 23-year-old Roy who also withheld his last name for security reasons.

Rita said the army then told demonstrators to gather and not leave the place so that they can provide them with cover to escape the black-shirted men.

“They let us go by groups of 50,” said a young man, who was among demonstrators.

More than 30 people were injured and a few of them were rushed to nearby hospitals by Red Cross ambulances which were initially denied access to the Justice Palace.

By 2:00 p.m., all the demonstrators had left the place under the coverage of the army and police.

Parents of the detainees, a large number of lawyers, Lebanese Forces militants and members of the Free Patriotic Movement had rallied at around 11 a.m. at the Justice Palace to stage a demonstration demanding the release of those in detention.

A number of MPs and party leaders attended the rally including MPs Pierre Gemayel and Neemtallah Abi Nasr and head of the Solidarity Party Emile Rahme.

Related: has a list of the syrian spys who participated in this


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