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Local, Int'l Concerns Mount after Beirut Clashes Amid Calls For Restraint

Local, Int'l Concerns Mount after Beirut Clashes Amid Calls For Restraint

Friday, 15 October, 2021 - 07:45
A Lebanese soldier accompanies civilians fleeing the crossfire in Beirut, Thursday, October 14. MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS

The International community expressed concern over Thursday’s security developments in Lebanon, urging all parties to exercise restraint.

The French foreign ministry said it was “deeply concerned” about the unrest in Beirut, calling for immediate “de-escalation”.

The ministry said the Lebanese judiciary must be able to work on their probe into the Beirut port explosion “in an independent and impartial manner”, noting that Lebanese authorities must “fully support” the investigation.

At least six people were killed and several others wounded in armed clashes that broke out in Beirut Thursday during a protest against the lead judge, Tarek Bitar, investigating last year’s massive blast in the city's port.

The protest outside the Justice Palace was called for by the Hezbollah group and its allies from the Amal movement, who are demanding a replacement for Bitar.

Joanna Wronecka, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, expressed her concern about the violence in Beirut in a Twitter post, saying that it was crucial to show restraint and ensure the safety of citizens.

Spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Hafez, stated that Egypt was following with great concern the developments in Lebanon, calling on all Lebanese parties to exercise restraint and to refrain from violence in order “to avoid the evils of sedition and to uphold the supreme national interest of Lebanon and its people.”

He also stressed that the government and state institutions should assume their responsibilities in managing the country, resolving crises and restoring stability.

Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Lebanese sects to exercise restraint and stop internal fighting.

“The brothers in the Amal Movement, Hezbollah and the Lebanese sects should end differences and internal fighting, because this weakens the national rank and strengthens tutelage.”

Local officials and party leaders have also called on the government to put an end to the “dangerous insecurity.”

In a statement, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdullatif Derian urged the Lebanese army and all security forces to control the situation and stop the clashes.

“The country is going through a dangerous stage that requires a national position uniting all Lebanese without exception, in order to save Lebanon, eliminate strife… and confront imminent dangers,” Derian remarked.

The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) said that Thursday’s clashes were “unfortunate and very dangerous.”

Emphasizing “the right to peaceful demonstration within the framework of freedom of expression,” the party stressed that armed manifestations and shooting were “totally and completely rejected.”

For his part, Jaafari Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan blamed Bitar and the US embassy in Beirut for the eruption of clashes.

“Every bloodshed, sedition, threat to civil peace and security chaos that has occurred today on the defenseless protesters, is because of the American embassy and Judge Tarek Bitar, who must be dismissed, arrested and questioned severely…” he stated.

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