BEIRUT: A group of student supporters of the Kataeb and National Liberal Party held a brief protest near the Syrian Embassy in Yarze, Baabda, amid tightened security.
The students, who numbered around 200, carried a variety of banners, some slamming Syrian President Bashar Assad, others calling for the expulsion of Damascus’ envoy to Lebanon, Ali Abdel-Karim Ali.
“The days of taking orders under Syrian tutelage are over,” Simon Dergham, the head of the NLP student association, said, according the Kataeb website.
Those participating in the protest, which started at 3 p.m. and lasted for about an hour, were located some 150 meters from the Syrian mission, security sources said, adding that beefed up security measures prevented the demonstrators from approaching any closer to the embassy.
Dergham slammed Ali, accusing him of breaching diplomatic norms.
“You have no respect for diplomatic norms and you don’t know how to deal with a country that has become fully sovereign and independent,” he said.
Ali sent a letter to Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry in early December describing how he’d received complaints from Syrian refugees about some “extremist Salafist organizations” in Lebanon blackmailing Syrian refugees in the country by offering to provide aid to them only if they announce that they joined the Syrian opposition.
The letter accused the Social Affairs Ministry of engaging in these acts as well.
Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, who has denied the allegations, said earlier this month that Ali filed another letter that included further accusations against his ministry.
At the protest, Youssef Abdel Nour, the head of the Kataeb students association, also questioned the delay in carrying out investigations on the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk.
Lebanon’s Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghida set Jan. 14 as a date for an interrogation with Mamlouk his alleged role in a terror plot to destabilize Lebanon.
“Where is Ali Mamlouk who was summoned for investigation in the case of [former Minister] Michel Samaha?” asked Abel Nour.
Samaha, Mamlouk and a Syrian officer identified as Brig. Gen. Adnan were indicted over the plot said to have been aimed at stoking violence in Lebanon.