Sami Gemayel Calls for Curfew in Sidon, Beirut, Tripoli to Avert More Unrestإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel condemned on Monday the clashes in the southern city of Sidon, voicing the party's support for the army's efforts to crackdown on the gunmen.
He said after the party's weekly politburo meeting: “A curfew should be imposed in all the regions that are witnessing tensions.”
He explained that a curfew should be imposed in Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli in order to avert unrest that may erupt there.
“We have taken too long to give the army the green light to crackdown on gunmen in Lebanon,” he lamented.
“Lebanon stands by the army in its efforts to restore the authority of the state,” he declared.
“This requires that they perform their duty objectively and not in a selective manner,” explained the MP.
He added that no one, regardless of their sectarian affiliations, should be allowed to carry arms in Lebanon.
Moreover, he hinted that the presence of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon helped contribute to the current unrest in the country, stressing that the party had longed warned of the possible threat they may present to Lebanon's internal security.
“All sides must assume their responsibilities in preventing unrest in Lebanon,” he demanded.
In addition, Gemayel said that the unrest in Sidon was a product of the concept of imposing security in Lebanon through the appeasement of all sides.
“It is time to impose real security in Lebanon without compromise,” he declared.
“Being lenient with gunmen will only worsen the problem and embolden gunmen,” he explained.
Furthermore, he said that the army is paying the price of imposing security through appeasement and “it is time to restore authority to the state, which requires supporting the army and standing against all who consider themselves above the law.”
“No one should be led to believe that they can control Lebanon through force or the use of arms,” he stated.
“We will not surrender Lebanon to armed groups and militias because that would mean the end of the country,” Gemayel said.
In addition, he noted the government's failure to convene in order to address the situation in Sidon, “which is sign of its absence.”
He therefore demanded that President Michel Suleiman take matters into his own hands, head to the Defense Ministry, and impose a curfew in the areas that have witnessed clashes and tensions.
Clashes broke out on Sunday between the army and supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the southern city of Sidon.
The military command said the number of troops killed in the fighting rose to 12. There were also more than 50 injuries among the ranks of the soldiers, but it was not clear how many fighters were killed in the unrest.
The clashes erupted when al-Asir's supporters surrounded an army checkpoint in the area, where a vehicle transporting other supporters of the cleric had been stopped.
After the armed men attacked the troops with gunfire, the army fired back.
Tensions have since been high in numerous regions in Lebanon, especially in Beirut and Tripoli.
In Tripoli, army positions came under threat of gunmen, but then tensions have so far not escalated into violence.