Naharnet

Beirut Separation Wall Removed 24 Hours after Installment

Prime Minister Tammam Salam gave instructions on Tuesday to remove a concrete wall installed by the authorities in downtown Beirut a day after violent protests.

The wall was erected on Monday at Riad al-Solh Square near the Grand Serail after large violent anti-government protests shook the area on Sunday.

Following Salam's decisions, several protesters were seen climbing and sitting on the wall holding Lebanese flags.

The wall's erection had drawn sharp criticism with graffiti artists converging on the area to express their resentment to government inaction.

The artists were quick to draw graffiti satirizing political parties and accusing politicians of being “monsters behind the wall.”

Some social media activists likened it to the Berlin Wall and others to the separation barrier built by Israel in the West Bank.

Some dubbed it a wall of shame.

“It took Israel years before it created that wall of disgrace to isolate the Palestinians. It took the Lebanese government two days to create a wall against its own people,” said a man on Facebook.

“The ugliest thing is to create a wall separating the authorities and the people,” said another.

The activists also called via Facebbok and Twitter for holding Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq accountable for ordering the wall's erection.

But they were quick to welcome Salam's decision on Tuesday.

The large protests erupted on Saturday over anger about the heaps of trash accumulating in Beirut's streets after the closure of the Naameh landfill more than a month ago.

But they turned violent on Sunday when thugs infiltrated peaceful demonstrators and clashed with police.

G.K.

M.T.


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