SIDON, Lebanon: Ten merchants claiming to be suffering financially from Sheikh Ahmad Assir’s Sidon sit-in, which is blocking the eastern highway, briefly occupied a Finance Ministry building in protest at the government’s negligence in addressing their grievances.
The merchants closed the gates of the state institution, preventing anyone from entering or exiting. They also asked employees to halt all work.
The protesters, whose shops are located along the highway blocked by Assir’s supporters, proceeded to disperse throughout the building’s main office.
Members of the Internal Security Forces quickly arrived at the premises and reopened the gates. The merchants left the building but vowed to take escalatory steps next week if the sit-in continues.
Assir’s sit-in, which is entering its second month, has angered many merchants and businessmen. Prominent Sidon figures have repeatedly urged the sheikh to cancel the protest, but to no avail.
The preacher is protesting Hezbollah’s arms, arguing that they threaten the lives of citizens and weaken the state and its institutions.