Civil Society Activists Carry Coffins after Parliament 'Buries Democracy'

The Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform on Friday staged a sit-in at Beirut's Riad al-Solh Square as a parliament session to vote on the extension of the legislature's term got underway.

Protesters formed a human chain to prevent MPs from reaching the parliament and hurled tomatoes at their cars, condemning the extension.

They also carried three empty coffins in a symbolic scene lamenting the “burial of democracy.”

Protesters wore black clothes “to mourn democracy and freedom,” stressing in a statement that “extending for this authority will extend all the crises Lebanon is going through.”

Meanwhile, other activists took to Facebook and Twitter to slam the move and mock the lawmakers.

“Extension in this manner and speed reminds us of the appointment of cabinets and presidents during the Syrian era,” said an activist.

“Ninety-seven dogs voted for the extension of the council of dogs in a session that lasted 10 minutes! All these dogs do not represent me,” said another activist.

LBCI television said activist Marwan Maalouf was arrested while attempting to set up a tent in Nejmeh Square to protest the extension of the parliament's term.

The parliament on Friday voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a new electoral law.

Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament's term until November 20, 2014, in a session that lasted only 10 minutes.

The motion to extend the normal four-year term was due to "the security situation in several Lebanese regions that gives rise to political escalation and division which often take on confessional forms."

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