BEIRUT: The scene of pro-Assad voters crowding the polling station in Yarze riled the March 14 coalition with the group’s General Secretariat calling on the Lebanese government to expel Syrians whose lives were not in danger.
“The provocations and performance by Syrians in support of the regime under the pretext of participating in the election are clear evidence that their security is not threatened, therefore, they are not refugees,” the secretariat said in a statement following its weekly meeting.
“We ask the government to work on immediately expelling them [back] to their country,” it added.
Kataeb Party MP Nadim Gemayel went further, asking the government to expel the Syrian ambassador.
"In response to what happened today ... we call on the expulsion of the Syrian envoy similar to what Jordan recently did," he said, referring to Amman's decision to declare its Syrian envoy as persona non grata.
"We also ask the Lebanese government to stop this charade that harmed the Lebanese citizens who were trapped in their vehicles for hours and paralyzed the country."
Thousands of Syrians flocked to the polling station at their embassy in the Beirut suburb of Yarze, causing a huge traffic jam in nearby neighborhoods since the early hours of the morning.
Most of the enthusiastic voters showed their support for Assad by chanting slogans and raising his photos outside the embassy, infuriating anti-Assad Lebanese citizens.
Lebanon is divided over the Syrian civil war, with the March 14 coalition backing the uprising and Hezbollah fighting alongside Assad regime troops against the rebels.
The Baabda branch of the Kataeb Party released a strongly worded statement about the Syrian election in Lebanon which it said “brought back memories” of Syrian tutelage.
“Why weren't there any precautionary measures taken given that the date of the election was scheduled last week," the statement said.
"The citizens witnessed today an invasion of the Lebanese street reminiscent of the days of Syrian occupation,” it said. "The actions we also witnessed cannot be tolerated and we warn of problems as a consequence of the unjustified tension-stirring behavior."
As usual, Lebanese dealt with their issues by making jokes about the crowded streets with citizens exchanging whatsapp messages, urging “Lebanese refugees” to remain indoors and allow Syrians to vote.
"We ask Lebanese refugees in Lebanon to remain in their houses to prevent traffic jams because the Syrians are casting their ballots to elect a president and we don't even have one,” the message read.