Police Dismantle Protest Tents in Beirut
Security forces on Saturday removed all the tents that protesters erected in Beirut’s Martyr Square and Riad al-Solh since Lebanon’s uprising on October 17.
The police first asked the protesters to evacuate the tents on Friday evening, but some activists said they will do that Saturday morning referring to a curfew already in place in the country over the novel coronavirus, according to LBCI TV station.
However, one of the activists reportedly threatened to immolate himself. A brawl erupted between security forces and the protesters, added LBCI.
Attorney Ali Abbas, one of the activists who joined the anti-government protests since day one told the TV reporter: “There is an intention for power abuse and also an intention to take advantage of the current situation,” he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic,
The media office of Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said in a statement that orders were given to dismantle the tents when the “protesters encroached on public and private property, and triggered a dispute with one of the ambassadors,” who was not named.
“It has not been brought to our knowledge anything about a dispute,” Abbas said, “the Minister has vowed a week ago to preserve the uprising and to do his best to protect the protesters. We don't know what changed today,” he added.
“We were surprised to see what is happening today. There is an intention for power abuse and also an intention to take advantage of the current situation,” he added.
On the precautionary measures taken inside the tents to prevent the spread of the virus, Abbas emphasized: “Tents were all sanitized and the general safety standards were observed.”