A general view of Brital, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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As elections loom, members of large clans and families of the Baalbeck-Hermel region, long associated with the illicit trade of hashish, are threatening to boycott the major parties unless they receive a general amnesty for accumulated arrest warrants.Now, in response, the powerful families have come together to re-form the Committee for a General Amnesty and the Development of the Baalbeck-Hermel Region.The region's roughly 750,000 inhabitants, the committee says, are weighed down by an estimated 30,000 arrest warrants.Tarek Dandash, who runs several local schools and is a founding member of the committee, said he opposes hashish being part of the region's future but said the committee was very likely to form its own parliamentary list to run against the established parties and push for change.Though the committee has existed in one form or another since 1992, its members are now more open in their demands and openly criticize the region's established political forces, Hezbollah and Amal.
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