Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
12:01 AM Beirut time
22 °C
Blom Index
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Charbel says situation in Sidon very sensitive
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel speaks after heading a security meeting in the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon on Saturday, August 4, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel speaks after heading a security meeting in the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon on Saturday, August 4, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
A+ A-

SIDON, Lebanon: Interior Minister Marwan Charbel warned Saturday that the situation in the southern coastal city of Sidon remained sensitive following the recent removal of a sit-in by controversial Sheikh Ahmad Assir that raised political tensions in the city to a boiling point.

“In all honesty the security situation in Sidon is very sensitive and we all have to acknowledge this and I remember and everyone remembers what happened in 1975,” Charbel told reports, referring to the year of the outbreak of Lebanon’s 1975-90 Civil War. 
“I don’t want this situation to repeat itself in 2012 and none of Sidon’s residents would like this recur,” he added, after heading a provincial security meeting in the city.
On Wednesday Sheikh Assir and his followers, who had closed Sidon’s highway for over a month in protest against Hezbollah’s arms, dismantled their sit-in and traffic resumed along the city’s main road.
The protest and sit-in considerably raised tensions in the city. Counter-protests were staged, scuffles between rival groups occurred and even a grenade was thrown in the direction of demonstrators during the protest that diverted entry and exit into the city to the coastal road, snarled traffic and limited business activity.
Charbel said he would not permit retaliatory acts against Assir, warning that any deterioration in the security situation of Sidon would have a reverberating effect on the rest of the country. 
He said one of the aims of his visit was to reassure Assir.
“From a security point of view, it is our duty to protect persons because we are responsible for the security of all Lebanese,” he said.
Charbel said wisdom and dialogue was essential to easing tensions. 
“Dialogue alone is the guarantor to reducing tribal and sectarian tensions,” the minister said.
He also vowed not to allow sit-ins and the blocking of roads in any part of the country, as did in Sidon, under the pretext of people’s demands.
“The blocking of roads in Lebanon is a red line. Neither the government, neither the judiciary nor does anyone else accept that the roads be blocked and that it appear we are living in a country that is uncivilized,” he said.
Charbel acknowledged that political divisions in the country led to the blocking of roads.
He said it was essential that the security apparatuses be granted political cover to facilitate their work in apprehending law-breakers. 
“If there isn’t political cover, no one can do anything,” he said.
The minister expressed hope that local security agencies would prevent a repeat of the sit-in in the southern coastal city. 
“I hope the security apparatuses will deal, particularly the head of the district, with the security situation and I do not want a repeat of Sheikh Ahmad Assir scenario because if it does, I do not know where things will lead to,” he said.
Home Lebanon News

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Mohammed Zaatari
Wanted Islamist escapes assassination in Sidon
Machnouk: Palestinians must give up arms
Sidon vendors mutilate themselves in protest
Army arrests key Al-Qaeda agent
Israel releases five abducted from Shebaa

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS