TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Protesters calling for the release of Tripoli’s detained Islamists criticized the Future Movement Friday, accusing it of arming Sunni youth against Hezbollah then condoning their detention.
“The Future Movement armed Tripoli’s youth calling on them to confront Hezbollah and fight the Iranian project in Lebanon, then abandoned them to face detention witht the charge of terrorism and violating the law by holding arms,” said Sheikh Khaled Hablas on behalf of the protesters.
Holding Islamist banners and calling for “solidarity with the detainees,” the protesters walked to the southern entrance of the city Friday, repeating their calls on the Lebanese authorities for just treatment.
“If they would treat Hezbollah the same as they treat us, then we don’t mind oppression,” Hablas said. “If not, then Sunni areas will become a the new southern suburb,” he continued, referring to south Beirut, where Hezbollah enjoys broad support.
Former Future MP Misbah Ahdab, who is the head of the Civic Moderation League, echoed some of Hablas’ statements after meeting with a number of religious figures involved in the matter.
“It has unfortunately become clear that the Cabinet provides cover for some members of the security forces that considers one sect... as untouchable while treating another as terrorists,” he said.
Ahdab called on the authorities to move the detainees out of “the Rihanieh prison, which is not meant to contain civilians,” threatening that if the security forces do not release those detained over the Tripoli clashes, wide escalatory movements would take place.
Four Tripoli residents who had been detained as part of the security plan launched by authorities in spring were released Tuesday after Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi urged the judiciary to speed up their trials and release those found innocent.
Separately, the northern city witnessed three security incidents Friday. Weapons were discovered inside a burning car, its owner, identified as Mahmoud Mohammed was later arrested.
In another development, Army troops stormed the emergency room of the Islamic Charity Hospital, apprehending a bearded man who accompanied a female patient. The Army has not released any information about his identity or on the cause of his arrest.
Also in Tripoli, an unknown assailant driving a white Mercedes tossed a hand grenade that failed to explode. The assailant smashed into a car as he tried to escape, then jump out of his vehicle and ran away before security forces arrived at the scene.