TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Calm prevailed in the northern city of Tripoli Tuesday, despite expectations that fresh rounds of violence would erupt after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, as has been the trend for two years.
Tripoli’s citizens still live in fear of fighting resuming on their streets and disrupting the normalcy which characterized Eid.
Rumors circulated that clashes would recommence this week, sending waves of anxiety and fear across the city. This was exacerbated by calls for demonstrations to protest a judicial ruling issued last week that convicted a number of individuals over the 2008 attack against the Army in Tripoli which left 13 soldiers dead.
One of those sentenced was Salafist Sheikh Tareq Merhi, whose supporters have previously held protests to demand his release.
The call to demonstrate was not heeded, however, with only a few dozen or so gathering in front of the Amira Mosque in the Bab al-Ramel neighborhood near Tripoli’s main street. The protesters quickly dispersed without any incident.
Boosted security measures, supplemented by encouraging statements from field commanders of violence-prone neighborhoods and politicians emphasizing their refusal to partake in clashes, has worked to keep a lid on unrest in the northern city.
The Internal Security Forces has also implemented a plan to preserve calm and stability in the districts of Tripoli, Beddawi and Mina, which has seen ISF personnel erecting mobile and fixed checkpoints, and deploying ISF Special Forces patrol units.
The Army also established patrols in the markets and streets of al-Tal, Banks, Azmi, Rafiq Fattal and Nadim al-Jisr during Eid.
Fixed and mobile checkpoints were also erected by the Army in Souk al-Dahab to prevent potential clashes between individuals, as well as along the coast of Mina, Port Said and Rashid Karami Boulevard. Military armored vehicles were parked, ready to intervene, at Al-Nour Square near the southern entrance of Tripoli.
Army patrols were also seen roaming Fouad Shehab Boulevard, near the city center.
The politicians of Tripoli were also reassuring throughout Eid, with politicians issuing nothing but a few statements addressing national issues.