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Concrete Wall Surrounding Lebanese Parliament Removed after 2 Years

Concrete Wall Surrounding Lebanese Parliament Removed after 2 Years

Tuesday, 24 May, 2022 - 06:30
A Lebanese anti-government protester holds a national Lebanese flag as a team of engineers removes a concrete wall from a road that leads to the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP)

Lebanese authorities removed on Monday the concrete wall and barbed wire surrounding the parliament building in downtown Beirut.

The presidency of the parliament said Speaker Nabih Berri had ordered their removal before the newly elected parliament convenes for the first time.

They were originally placed in wake of the 2019 popular protests as demonstrators had frequently tried to storm parliament.

Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi visited the parliament area to oversee the removal of the wall, called the "wall of shame" by the protesters.

"The people who protested here are now members of parliament. Together we will build Lebanon," he declared.

"Just as the elections were a success and the people expressed their views, we, as a state, listen to the people and carry out what they want," he added.

"It is our duty to listen to the voice of the Lebanese people. Beirut is the city of life and openness. It belongs to everyone and does not shut its doors to anyone," he stressed.

Concrete barriers and barbed wire were set up around state institutions in wake of the 2019 protests that erupted against the country's ruling elite. The institutions were the frequent sites of protests and several clashes had erupted between the demonstrators and parliament security forces during the rallies.

Dozens of protesters and members of security were wounded in the clashes.

The coronavirus pandemic had forced parliament to move its meetings to the UNESCO headquarters in Beirut where social distancing could be better practiced.

The new parliament is expected to return to meeting at the downtown headquarters.

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