Rear View – Lebanon in review (11 October 2020)
4 OCT – Families of Blast Victims Demand Investigation Findings
Two months after the port explosion, the families of the explosion’s victims gathered along with activists at the Statue of the Immigrant overlooking the port. They demanded the results of the investigation be revealed and the responsible officials be held accountable. They also released balloons that had the names of victims written on them into the sky. It should be noted that this gathering was not spared from repression, for security forces were present and prevented them from blocking the road.
Meanwhile, a statement by the president’s office announced that he will not be signing the decrees that dismiss three general managers who are facing charges for their involvement in the crime at the port. The office justified its position by claiming that the decrees were not issued from within the cabinet. The three decrees target the director general of customs, the director general of land and maritime transport, and the chairman of the interim committee for the management and investment of the Port of Beirut. The decrees were then transferred to the president after the prime minister and the finance minister both signed them, but the president refused to sign, halting the dismissal. This is not the first time that the office had to issue a justification, explaining why the president refused to sign the decrees. A previous statement justified the failure to sign the decree to exempt Director General of Customs Badri Daher – who is affiliated with the president – by claiming that the decrees did not reach the Baabda place. The office then justified once again the president’s refusal to sign the decrees by stating that the prime minister had not issued other decrees to dismiss the rest of the first category employees.
4 OCT – Aoun Refuses To Dismiss Port Officials
President Michel Aoun refused to sign a decree to remove three Port officials who are currently facing charges over their mismanagement that led to the blast.
6 OCT – Activists Face Charges in Military Court
Protestors demonstrated outside the Military Court in Beirut, in conjunction with the trial of six October 17 activists for their participation in protests in Keserwan. The activists were accused of rioting and aggressive treatment of security forces before being released after submitting their residency documents.
It should be noted that the Lawyers’ Committee to Defend Protesters has repeatedly admonished the persistence of trying civil activists before military courts.
7 OCT – Hariri: “I Am The Savior!”
The Presidency’s Directorate General set the date for the parliamentary consultations on October 15, 2020. The consultations will precede the nomination of a prime minister-designate who will form the new government.
7 OCT – Activist Khaldoun Jaber Found Innocent
Activist and journalist Khaldoun Jaber was declared innocent of all charges after he stood trial at the military court on Wednesday morning. During the trial, Jaber’s lawyers asked the court to address the torture charges filed by Jaber himself, instead of having him stand trial. Security forces had beaten and tortured Jaber after pulling him out of a protest.
Former PM Saad Hariri said in an interview with Marcel Ghanem on MTV that he is a candidate for prime minister after saying over the past 6 months that he is not.
Ex-PM Saad Hariri will launch contacts on Monday with all the parliamentary blocs that were present at the Pine Residence meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Consultations to name a new PM are set for October 15.
Could Hariri be back 2 days before the first anniversary of the uprising that led to his resignation last year?
9 OCT – Thawra List Wins LAU Elections
On a positive point, just like the Beirut Bar Association, the Independent candidate list (Thawra) wins the student elections at the Lebanese American University (LAU). This is the first university student elections since the uprising of 17th of October. This can set the pace for other elections in other universities and syndicates.
All of the Independent candidates won, and all of them got the most votes.
The votes distribution at LAU Beirut & Byblos came as follows; Independent list: 1358 votes (52%), Lebanese Forces: 846 votes (33%), Amal: 196 (8%), Blank votes (7%). The votes are divided into two main campuses:
- Beirut: independent: 9 seats, Amal: 4 seats, Lebanese Forces: 2 seats
- Byblos: Independent: 5 seats (highest numbers of votes), Amal: 1 seat, Lebanese Forces: 9 seats
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