AMAL Supporters Try to Storm al-Jadeed Building in Protest at TV Showإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Supporters of AMAL Movement attempted to storm al-Jadeed TV's building in Beirut on Tuesday evening in protest at a satirical TV show that they deemed insulting to AMAL founder Imam Moussa al-Sadr.
TV footage showed hundreds of demonstrators trying to push their way through police and army lines with the aim of storming the building.
Protesters also hurled rocks and firecrackers at the building, smashing several windows and injuring two al-Jadeed employees and a policeman.
The demonstrators eventually dispersed after around two hours of rioting and following the arrival of huge army reinforcements.
President Michel Aoun, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Defense Minister Yaaqoub al-Sarraf and Information Minister Melhem Riachi had held a series of contacts with security chiefs and political leaders in a bid to pacify the situation.
Al-Jadeed deputy chairwoman Karma Khayyat had urged the army to “intervene to put an end to the behavior of (Speaker Nabih) Berri's supporters outside al-Jadeed's building,” calling the protesters' actions “an insult to Imam Moussa al-Sadr.”
An army force eventually arrived outside the building to reinforce security lines.
Army forces also deployed along the Salim Salam bridge and on the highway near the Sports City, state-run National News Agency reported.
“Those attacking al-Jadeed's building did not watch the episode that they are protesting against and al-Jadeed does not accept any insult against Sayyed Moussa al-Sadr,” Khayyat stressed.
“We are being threatened with bullets and the cutting off of broadcast, but this will not deter us from saying the truth,” Khayyat added.
Earlier in the day, AMAL supporters had blocked the highway linking the city of Sidon to the South, which was eventually reopened.
Media reports said AMAL supporters have also forced many cable TV providers in Beirut, Dahiyeh, the South and the Bekaa to remove al-Jadeed from their service.
In its latest episode on Sunday, the satirical show “Douma Cracy” hosted ex-MP Hassan Yaaqoub, the son of Sheikh Mohammed Yaaqoub who disappeared along with Imam al-Sadr during a 1978 visit to Libya.
Ex-MP Yaaqoub is an opponent of Berri and has criticized his handling of al-Sadr's case.
The episode featured three puppets impersonating Berri, slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.
According to An Nahar newspaper, the episode “hinted that Berri knows the location in which al-Sadr vanished.”
The TV show is directed by controversial director Charbel Khalil.
AMAL MP Hani Qobeissi had on Monday accused al-Jadeed of “insulting” al-Sadr whom he described as “the first defender of Lebanon.”
“The language of mockery and disrespect showed that your $70 million contract with some remnants of the Libyan regime to print their books is more important to you than all the causes of the country and its people,” Qobeissi said in a statement.
“AMAL Movement with its martyrs, wounded, cadres and leader will not confront you, because you are too little for that,” the MP added.
Resistance Brigades gunmen had attacked al-Jadeed's building in 2012 in protest at an interview with Islamist cleric Ahmed al-Asir.