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Conflict Incident Report
10 teachers arrested at Baabda protest
Ten teachers were reportedly arrested by security forces during a large protest that blocked roads near the presidential palace in Baabda Thursday.
Hundreds of teachers and professors gathered to protest against their stagnating wages and short term contracts.
Some clashes between demonstrators and riot police were reported.
Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh denounced the actions of security forces as "unacceptable violence in a republic that claims respect for freedoms," local media quoted him as saying.
Hamadeh reportedly spoke with the protesters via telephone earlier, confirming his support and telling them to “stay where you are.”
“Do not move until Cabinet sets a date for a session on education,” he was quoted as saying by local news channel MTV.
President Michel Aoun during Thursday’s Cabinet session called for a special session to study the education sector, but did not set a date.
Hamadeh had boycotted the session to protest against his education-related items being left off the agenda. Private school teachers' wages have yet to increase in line with the salary scale law agreed to last year. Other teachers have been calling for permanent contracts in separate protests.
Roughly 100 teachers also gathered in Beirut's Riad al-Solh to demand their salary increase and to be awarded permanent contracts as Cabinet began their meeting.
Teachers have been protesting for months, as have parents after private schools made it clear they would be passing on the majority of any added cost by hiking school fees.
Speaking after a meeting with private school unions as Cabinet met, Hamadeh said he did not understand why ministers have failed time and again to address issues in the education sector.
“Maybe there are things more important than education for them,” he said.
Hamadeh said disagreements over awarding contracts to teachers were partly for "sectarian reasons." Implementation of the salary scale was not the only issue, he said, pointing to the protest over contracts.
Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblatt asked why there had been a "disappearance" of education-related files from Cabinet meetings in a tweet from his official account Thursday.