Supporters of Islamist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir were assaulted by an angry mob in the Zoqaq al-Blat-Salim Salam area on Sunday.
Around 2:30 p.m., soon after the end of an Islamist sit-in at the nearby Martyrs Square at which Asir delivered a speech, dozens of young men from the Zoqaq al-Blat neighborhood blocked the Salim Salam highway and started subjecting the passing vehicles to identity checks, a Naharnet reporter witnessed.
When a minibus carrying Asir supporters arrived at the impromptu checkpoint, the young men attacked it in a “hysterical manner”, took off one of its doors and started beating up the passengers, according to the reporter.
A number of passengers managed to flee the scene and several cars were seen making a U-turn and speeding off to safety.
The incident lasted around five minutes and the young men quickly dispersed as an army patrol arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, Asir's official Facebook page said “shabiha from AMAL Movement stopped two cars on the Salim Salam highway that were carrying supporters of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir who were on their way back to Sidon, and started assaulting them and cursing them.”
For its part, LBCI television said one of the cars of Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi supporters was pelted with stones in Salim Salam.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of protesters rallied in the nearby Martyrs Square to demand that trial procedures be accelerated for Islamist prisoners, who have been held in Roumieh prison without charge since 2007, and vowed an uprising and “vengeance” against the authorities.
"We are being treated this way because we are members of the defeated (Sunni) sect," said al-Asir in a speech at the rally.
He called for “an Intifada to end the hegemony.”
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