Rear View – Lebanon in review (29 November 2020)
25 NOV: Gas Crisis Looming
Gas importers have accused the Central Bank of failing to secure required funding for their industry, resulting in gas rationing being implemented and threats of gas shortages being touted. The statement issued by the Syndicate of Gas Canister Filling Stations added that “the crisis is growing with the approach of winter.”
25 NOV: UAE Halts New Visas to Lebanese Citizens
The United Arab Emirates has stopped granting work or visitor visas to nationals of 13 Arab or Muslim-majority countries including Lebanon, according to a Reuters report.
The reasons for suspending the issuance of visas to Lebanese citizens remain unknown and it is unclear whether there are exceptions to the ban.
26 NOV: Protestors Gather in Front of Judge Sawan’s House
Protestors gathered at judicial investigator Fadi Sawan’s residence on Thursday demanding justice and the imprisonment of all parties involved in the port explosion crime, including politicians. In a statement directed at the judge, protestors stated: “You are responsible for protecting the real culprits. You are manipulating information about what caused the crime and downplaying the causes by claiming it’s negligence.”
Sawan had addressed Parliament Wednesday night and asked them to do what they deemed appropriate regarding the involvement of current and previous ministers in the port explosion, a move that allows him to avoid prosecuting top criminals, unless the Parliament takes action.
27 NOV: Lawyers Call on Interior Minister to “LEAVE”
The Beirut and Tripoli Bar Associations called on Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi to “relinquish his duties, step down from his post and leave.” After an emergency meeting the syndicate also announced that lawyers would stop performing their duties on Tuesday December 1, 2020 in protest of the Interior Ministry’s practices.
The position of the bar associations follows the assault of a trainee lawyer by the Internal Security Forces, after which Fahmi accused 95% of Lebanon’s judges of corruption in a television interview on Thursday.
The two syndicates view the encroachment on the role of lawyers and the stature of the judiciary as a blow against the establishment of the rule of law and as a consecration of the police state.
28 NOV: USJ Secular Club Competes With Sectarian Parties in University Elections
Saint-Joseph University Secular Club has taken heart from recent student election results at the AUB and LAU that saw non-sectarian candidates defeat the “usual suspects” to take key positions.
In what is considered the largest independent campaign the university has ever seen,
the USJ Secular Club is running under the independent ‘Taleb’ lists with 101 candidates in 12 faculties, and has so far managed to win unopposed in 5 of the faculties with 39 candidates.
The Future Movement has withdrawn from the elections, which are set to take place across 4 days starting on Monday, November 30. The ’Taleb’ campaign is competing against the rest of the ruling class’ parties: the Lebanese Forces, Kataeb, Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah.
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