Lebanese president, security chiefs meet after Beirut riots

Riot police stand guard during clashes with anti-government protesters, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...
Riot police fire rubber bullets against the anti-government protesters, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...
An anti-government protester stands on barriers as he throws stones against riot police during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ...
Anti-government protesters are sprayed by a water canon, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the country for decades, ...
Anti-government protesters throw stones and clash with the riot police, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...
Anti-government protesters throw a glass panel against the riot police who are standing behind barriers defense, during ongoing protests against the p...

Riot police stand guard during clashes with anti-government protesters, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...

Riot police fire rubber bullets against the anti-government protesters, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...

An anti-government protester stands on barriers as he throws stones against riot police during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ...

Anti-government protesters are sprayed by a water canon, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the country for decades, ...

Anti-government protesters throw stones and clash with the riot police, during ongoing protests against the political elites who have ruled the countr...

Anti-government protesters throw a glass panel against the riot police who are standing behind barriers defense, during ongoing protests against the p...

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's top security officials met with the president on Monday after a weekend of rioting in Beirut that left hundreds of people injured and damaged public and private property — violence that comes against the backdrop of a deepening political deadlock.

The meeting at the presidential palace was to discuss the three months of protests that have roiled Lebanon and that over the past week turned into acts of vandalism in different parts of Beirut. On the agenda was also the formation of a joint operations to coordinate among the country's security agencies to better deal with protesters.

Since the protests first erupted in mid-October, with masses taking to the streets to denounce Lebanon's political elite, which they blame for corruption and mismanagement, the country has sunk deeper into political crisis. Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab has not been able to form a Cabinet over political bickering, a month after his nomination amid a severe economic and financial downturn.

Saturday witnessed the worst rioting since the protests began, with nearly 400 people injured, including around 120 who were treated in hospital. On Sunday, more than a 100 people were injured in downtown Beirut.

The protesters have also attacked public and private property in Beirut, targeting mostly banks that have imposed informal capital controls, limiting the withdrawal of dollars and foreign transfers.

Security forces detained an American freelance journalist on Sunday night, on suspicion of broadcasting live footage to an Israeli newspaper. Lebanon and Israel are at a state of war and ban their citizens from visiting or contacting the other country.

In a statement released overnight, Lebanon's State Security department said the U.S. citizen was at the scene of the protest near the parliament building, a location from which someone was broadcasting live to the Israeli paper. State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat referred the journalist to Military Intelligence for questioning and investigation, the department said.

The area outside Parliament was packed with journalists, many of them correspondents for international news agencies. International coverage of the three-month old protests in Lebanon has picked up in the past two days as the violence worsened.

An eyewitness, speaking on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals, said the young man was taken away by men dressed in black who put him in a civilian car and drove away.