BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Tension against Kurds runs high in Burj Hammoud

A general view of Bourj Hammoud, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Tensions ran high in Burj Hammoud, north of Beirut, after a catcalling incident spiraled out of control prompting security forces to step in twiceover the weekend to contain frictions.

The brawl started Saturday when a man from Lebanon’s Kurdish community verbally harassed the fiancé of one of the residents as the couple was taking a walk which led to a verbal altercation that deteriorated when the friends of each of the two men joined the fight, media reports said.

But matters worsened Saturday afternoon when one of the men from the Kurdish community threw a gas canister at Elias Kalash, badly wounding him. According to media reports, Kalash was still in hospital in critical condition.

The Internal Security Forces issued a statement Sunday saying it arrested five Syrian men connected to the dispute. The ISF said investigations were ongoing to determine the real reasons behind the dispute.

The 29-second video of a man throwing the canister at Kalash – filmed by one of Burj Hammoud’s residents- went viral on the internet over the weekend.

On Sunday evening, a group of Burj Hammoud residents held a protest outside the neighborhood’s municipality demanding protection against what they dubbed as “attacks” on them by the Kurdish community.

Lebanon has a large Kurdish community; most of them were granted the Lebanese citizenship after the 1975-90 Civil War in the early 1990s.

The bustling Burj Hammoud- one of Beruit’s most populated suburbs – is known as an Armenian stronghold, but in recent years it grew to house several nationalities and religions.

 

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