BEIRUT: Sidon’s controversial preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir called on his followers Tuesday to stage a rally in Beirut after Friday prayers to show support for the Syrian people in the face of a government assault in Aleppo. A terse statement released by Assir’s office at Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in Sidon invited men and women to join the rally near Imam Ali Mosque in the Tariq al-Jdideh neighborhood. Last week, Assir’s supporters ended a monthlong sit-in that had raised political tensions in the city, after securing token concessions from government officials. Assir and his followers, who had closed Sidon’s highway for over a month in protest against Hezbollah’s arms, dismantled the tents they had erected. The sit-in sparked nationwide protests mainly by the city’s businessmen and political figures who staged counter-protests demanding an end to Assir’s sit-in.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 08, 2012, on page 4.