For the first time in Lebanon’s history, the country marked Independence Day with a civilian march in downtown Beirut, while politicians oversaw a stiff, invite-only military parade at the defence ministry outside the capital.

Last year, politicians had held a large military parade in downtown Beirut, with the participation of the air force and armoured units. Friday's event, attended by President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, included foot soldiers and lasted about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, thousands of people filled Martyrs' Square for a parade of dozens of civilian "battalions", sorted by profession and interest, amid a weeks-long popular uprising against the country's ruling elites.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports from Beirut.

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