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Conflict Incident Report

Angry tenants protest on Hamra Street

Date of incident: 
May 23, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Civilians

Angry tenants protested on Hamra Street in Beirut denouncing a surge in old low-rent buildings.

Head of the National Federation of Professional Syndicates and Unions (FENASOL) Castro Abdullah spoke condemning the situation.

"Tenants continue to suffer," he said. "Instead of demanding displaced people to leave, the government must work on making sure they aren't displacing their own people."

The Constitutional Council in March rejected a legal challenge backed by long-term tenants that sought to overturn a controversial law affecting rent controls.

The decision, which lifts a temporary halt on the new rent law passed last month and allows it to go into immediate effect, prompted tenants to take to the streets.

An estimated 200,000 apartments in the Beirut area leased prior to 1992 will be affected by the new law, which allows for an incremental increase in rent price.

Old lease agreements prevented landlords increasing rents or changing terms, meaning many renters were paying less than LL1 million ($670) a year and had significant protection from eviction.

The Constitutional Council’s decision was welcomed by property owners. “Everyone is relieved and has the feeling that justice has been done,” Joseph Zoghaib, president of the landlords syndicate, told The Daily Star. “They [the tenants] cannot squat our houses for free anymore.”

Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Policy conflicts
Conflicts associated with political decisions, government or state policies regarding matters of public concern, such as debates concerning law reforms, electoral laws, and protests of the government’s political decisions, among others.
Classification of conflict(secondary):
Conflicts of socio-economic development
Conflicts associated with lack of, or gaps in economic development, opportunities and access to resources.