SIDON, Lebanon: Future MP Bahia Hariri along with other political figures stressed Wednesday their commitment to sparing the city political tensions in the future.
Their position on the matter was announced after a meeting hosted by Hariri at her Majdalyoun residence in Sidon. It attendance was Sidon Mufti Sheikh Salim Sousan, Mayor Mohammad al-Saudi, businessman Shafiq Hariri, south Lebanon coordinator for the Future Movement Nasser Hammoud and head of the Sidon Merchants Association Ali Sharif.
A statement issued following the meeting said that those present emphasized their “commitment to Sidon’s stability, civil peace and unity.”
They stressed the need to exert efforts to “spare the city all that could harm its interests, well-being of its citizens and their mobility,” and added that they consider “the state’s security, military and judicial bodies as the only parties tasked with preserving the city’s security.”
Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir has staged several sit-ins recently in Sidon and its surrounding suburbs to demand the removal of what he claims are Hezbollah-linked men in apartments located near Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, where he often preaches.
Assir added that protests would intensify unless his demands are met. His supporters had previously protested against transporting diesel to Syria and barricaded roads, prohibiting trucks carrying diesel from the Zahrani refinery to pass.
He said he is being watched by armed men and warned that this could give rise to security issues in the future and serve to heighten tensions in Sidon.
Assir called on security forces to drive out the men from the apartments and confiscate their weapons.
Security sources had expressed fears that Assir would mobilize his supporters against the men and encourage reckless actions that could bring about disastrous consequences.