BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in central Beirut on Friday after some demonstrators had set fire to a nearby building, according to Lebanese television stations.

Two Reuters witnesses saw demonstrators choking from the tear gas and asking army soldiers for help. The witnesses saw some protesters, including some who were hooded, smashing storefronts and benches.

Reporting by Eric Knecht, Ellen Francis and Samia Nakhoul; Editing by Howard Goller