BEIRUT: Lebanese citizens took to social media Friday to voice their anger over the sudden replacement of Capt. Michel Moutran, the operational manager of the Traffic Management Center, although the ISF later confirmed that he was being promoted to a more senior position.
On its Twitter feed, which has more than 40,000 followers, TMC said Moutran “will temporarily remain at the center in preparation to hand over the management to another officer so that the same transparency and interactivity remain.”
It added that Moutran would be tasked with founding a new institution that would have a major impact on road safety, but did not elaborate further.
Within minutes, Twitter users were bombarding the social media account with messages demanding Moutran be returned to his post.
“Too bad having a productive manager removed from his position for an unknown reason!" said one Twitter user using the hashtag "#wewantCaptainMoutrantoreturnbecause," which later became the No. 1 trending topic in Lebanon.
“Unfollowed @tmclebanon until @MichelMoutran comes back," another wrote.
Some praised the work of Moutran, who was accredited with the success of the center and its Twitter account, which gained thousands of followers earlier this year during a severe winter storm that swept the country.
But according to the Internal Security Forces Moutran has simply been posted in a more senior role.
"Moutran has been promoted to a better position," said spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Moussallem. "He will be in charge of establishing and running an institution to train traffic control officers."
"The institution is a new, modern addition [to the TMC]."
Speaking to The Daily Star, Moutran refrained from giving details about the transfer, saying he was merely an officer carrying out a military order.
“I think what suits me is to work hard wherever I am. ... I did what I was assigned to do [at TMC] and I wish them all the luck,” he said.
Last night, Moutran wrote on his Twitter feed that he was no longer managing TMC, thanking his 41,000 followers for making his dream come true.
Moutran will be replaced by Capt. Khalil Moukarzel.