Lebanon: peaceful protesters must be protected
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri offered his resignation on 29 October 2019, after 13 days of protest over political corruption and economic turmoil. On that same day, individuals reportedly loyal to Amal Movement and Hezbollah ransacked a protest camp in the centre of Beirut, setting tents on fire and beating demonstrators. While security forces had been heavily deployed in the city, they did intervene only after these violent attacks took place.
“EuroMed Rights calls on the international community to urge the Lebanese authorities to guarantee freedom of assembly and strike, and to refrain from prosecuting people for exercising their rights. The police should actively protect the protesters against violent acts perpetrated by non-state groups,” said Wadih Al-Asmar, President of EuroMed Rights.
EuroMed Rights recalls that the right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 21), which Lebanon is party of.
“What has happened is another step in the escalation of violence against peaceful protesters, since they have been facing attacks by supporters of ruling parties for several days now. With demonstrations likely to continue taking place despite Hariri’s resignation, we fear that protesters be subjected to severe attacks by non-state actors, and removed by the Lebanese army with excessive force,” added Rasmus Alenius Boserup, EuroMed Rights Executive Director.