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Protesters try to enter the U.S. embassy as they are sprayed by riot police using water cannons during a demonstration in Aukar, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. A few hundred demonstrators, including Palestinians, pelted security outside the embassy with stones and burned an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump in a protest to reject Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Violent protests sparked in Lebanon following Trump's embassy move to Jerusalem


Lebanese security forces clashed on Saturday with crowds who had gathered near the United States Embassy to protest President Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, according to the New York Times.

Scenes from the unrest showed some throwing rocks and setting tires and a large trash container on fire outside a highly secured compound in an area north of the country's capital, Beirut. Clouds of tear gas were dispelled into the air after several protesters had attempted to tear the barbed wire off a fence. The crowd didn't back down to the forces who confronted them with batons. One man drop-kicked an officer to the ground, and another said he had been hit by birdshot and was bleeding from his back.

An uptick in violence was feared by many high-profile public officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. They said, according to the Associated Press, that the move would endanger American diplomats on the ground as well as troops stationed in the Middle East.

The 45th-commander-in-chief broke with longstanding American foreign policy last Wednesday when he signed a waiver delaying the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Supporters of the move say that the decision was long awaited, claiming that Jerusalem is an Israeli state. Critics, however, described the move as bold in the absence of a Israel-Palestinian peace deal, since Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as theirs.

Following the move, America's staunchest allies and adversaries were quick to vocalize their criticisms. France and Germany denounced the move, while North Korea said Trump's move was a "reckless, wicked act." The Taliban, Hamas and Shia extremist leaders vowed bloodshed following the administration's decision.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the embassy move would "move the ball forward" in the peace processes between Israelis and Palestinians.

Learn more: Why Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel is so controversial

Why Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel is so controversial

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