Party leader: Protest over Syria turns deadly in Lebanon

Soldiers stand guard in Beirut on Sunday on the fringe of a protest against the involvement of Hezbollah in fighting in Syria.

Story highlights

  • Option party head says member was killed outside Iranian embassy
  • State media says local men confronted the demonstrators
  • Hezbollah is supported by Iran, Syria
  • Lebanese government has quietly backed government in Syrian civil war

A protest outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut turned deadly Sunday, the leader of a Lebanese political party said.

Ahmed Assad, who heads the Option party -- which opposes Hezbollah and the Syrian government -- told reporters one man from his group was shot in the stomach and died.

"They killed him to silence his freedom of speech," he said.

Members of the group were protesting what they called Iranian intervention in Syria when some of its members were attacked, a spokesman said. He said two other people were hurt.

The National News Agency reported demonstrators were confronted by "some young men in the area."

Tension over Syria grows inside Lebanon

    Just Watched

    Tension over Syria grows inside Lebanon

Tension over Syria grows inside Lebanon 02:07
PLAY VIDEO

U.N.: Nearly half of Syria's populace will need aid

The neighborhood is a primarily pro-Hezbollah area.

CNN staffers saw a heavy presence of Lebanese security forces outside the embassy. Soldiers had cleared the area and media members were being kept away from the scene.

Syrian dissidents have said Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese Shiite militia backed by Iran and the Syrian government, has sent fighters to the conflict. Hezbollah recently teamed with government forces during a pitched battle for the Syrian town of the border city of Qusayr, members of the Syrian opposition said.

The Lebanese government has remained officially neutral in the conflict -- even as it has firmly, but quietly, supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria's embattled Qusayr off-limits to aid workers