Day 79: Protesters resist bank measures in unprecedented escalation
- Protesters in Halba’s Blom Bank branch clashed with security forces who attempted to kick them out in the evening. As the violence increased, police launched teargas inside the bank, as gunshots were fired in the air outside. A statement issued by the Association of Banks in Lebanon in the evening announced the closure of all banks in Akkar until further notice.
- Similar protests also took place in other banks including in Sidon and Furn el Chebbak with clashes occurring between security forces and protesters.
- In Ras el Metn, a branch of Byblos Bank was set on fire late Thursday night before civil defense teams arrived to put it out.
Protesters block roads, clash with army
- Protesters blocked main highways in the morning in Akkar, Tripoli, and Nahr el Kalb tunnel, as the army tried to forcefully disperse them and reopen roads. 4 protesters were arrested in Nahr el Kalb, and 3 were released later in the evening. Demonstrators burned tires at night, blocking an internal road in Jounieh, to denounce the arrests.
- The night before, violent clashes also erupted between the army and protesters demonstrating against electricity power cuts in front of the Deir Ammar plant in Halba. Several protesters were injured as the army shot rubber bullets at people, dispersing them.
Rabih el Amine made to sign a second “pledge”
- Rabih el Amine was held at the Anti—cybercrime Bureau a second time today, after being called in for allegedly violating a court order that banned him from insulting Marwan Kheireddine. The activist had been previously called in for interrogations for Facebook posts that were deemed insulting to the bank owner.
- El Amine was later released after being made to sign a second pledge to not insult Kheireddine again.
- Supporters of the activist stood in a solidarity protest outside the Bureau throughout the ordeal.
Foreign Ministry condemns US airstrike that killed Suleimani
- The Lebanese Foreign Ministry condemned the United States’ Baghdad drone strike which killed Iranian General Qassem Suleimani and 6 others. A statement by the ministry offered condolences to Iran and Iraq, and called the strike, which was authorized by US President Donald Trump, a “dangerous escalation against Iran”.
- President Aoun also sent a letter of condolence to Iranian President Rouhani, stating: “It is with pain that I received the news of the assasination of Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major General Qassim Soleimani.”
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