EDL workers, riot police clash at protest in Beirut
Electricite du Liban contract workers briefly blocked a main highway during a protest that erupted into intermittent clashes with riot police.
The workers, who initially were demonstrating at EDL headquarters in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael, headed to the adjacent highway, blocking it and bringing traffic to a halt.
President of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers Bechara Asmar urged the protesters to head back to the headquarters, saying that their action would impact other Lebanese citizens.
EDL per diem workers called for the protest to be held in solidarity with EDL worker Hasan Akel, who was slapped by an Internal Security Forces officer last week during a protest. The workers were also planning to hold a news conference inside the customer's hall to relay their demands, including their call for long-term contracts and payment of late salaries. The hall, however, was blocked by riot police.
Tensions escalated earlier Monday morning when a per diem worker threatened to kill himself at the protest before his colleagues prevented him, prompting a scuffle to erupt between the worker and riot police.
Local media reported that he tried to kill himself with a blade. The worker had been speaking to reporters about his difficult economic situation, saying that both his wife and daughter needed medical assistance, minutes before he took out the blade.
A scuffle erupted with riot police who were blocking the way to the EDL customer's hall, as workers attempted to take the blade away from the man, who later lost conscious.
Chaos and clashes erupted again at the EDL headquarters at around 11 a.m.