Al-Asir Warns of Escalatory Measures in 'Intifada' over Non-State Armsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Imam of Sidon's Bilal bin Rabah mosque Salafist cleric Ahmed al-Asir warned on Thursday that he would take escalatory measures as part of his open-ended strike if the issue of non-state arms were not resolved.
In remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5), al-Asir said: “Our sit-in in Sidon is peaceful and civilized. It includes women, children and elderly.”
“We can no longer tolerate the spread of arms in the presence of the state,” he stressed, saying that his protest does not threaten the month-long security plan launched by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
In remarks to MTV he dubbed his protest an Intifada or Uprising.
Hundreds of the mosque preacher’s supporters blocked the northern and southern entrances to the southern city of Sidon on Wednesday night by lying down on the road.
Around 50 protestors resumed their protest on Thursday morning by erecting tents near Abou Bahaeddine Hariri mosque at Sidon’s northern entrance.
Mufti ofSidon and the South Sheikh Salim Sousan asked al-Asir in vain to hold the sit-in elsewhere and open the road for traffic.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also tasked Governor of the South Nicolas Abu Daher and the commander of the southern region Brig. Gen. Tareq Abdullah to do the same.
In his remarks to VDL, al-Asir denied that he received the political backing of the city’s officials.
“The decision to hold the sit-in came under my request,” he stressed. “Political personalities haven’t contacted me.”
“It is also untrue that contacts are underway to disperse the sit-in,” al-Asir told VDL, warning that if officials do not take effective measures to resolve the problem of non-state arms, starting with Hizbullah’s arsenal, then he would take escalatory measures.
The Salafist preacher accuses Hizbullah and AMAL movement of taking over the political decision-making of the state.
“If they continue to dominate the political decision-making through controlling the army, the dignity of the Sunni sect and the state institutions, things will never be set straight,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday.