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Lebanese army separates rival protests near president palace

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s armed forces have deployed near the presidential palace east of Beirut to prevent friction between rival Lebanese protesters as the stalemate over forming a crisis government continues.

Anti-government protesters had called for a rally Sunday outside the Presidential Palace in Baabda to press President Michel Aoun to formally begin the process of forming a new government. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned over a month ago amid nationwide protests accusing the political elite of corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

The call prompted a counter-rally by supporters of Aoun who called him a “red line.” Army soldiers formed a human chain to separate the groups on a highway leading to the palace, preventing clashes.

Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward central Beirut amid a deepening economic crisis.