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Conflict Incident Report

Berri supporters protest for 3rd day in Beirut

Date of incident: 
January 31, 2018
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Civilians

Supporters of Speaker Nabih Berri rallied for the third consecutive day across Lebanon, with dozens waving banners and chanting slogans in Beirut and the southern city of Tyre.

The protests broke out on the streets Monday in response to a viral video in which Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil is seen calling Berri a “thug,” during a meet with supporters of his Free Patriotic Movement.

Local news channel Al-Jadeed Wednesday aired a live report around 6 p.m. showing hundreds of pro-Berri demonstrators in Beirut’s UNESCO area. A security source told The Daily Star around 1000 people had gathered. Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh, who has shown support for Berri during the protracted row, attended the rally.

The source earlier shared pictures with The Daily Star that showed around 200 Berri supporters blocking a coastal intersection in Tyre. He also shared a picture of a destroyed portrait of President Michel Aoun near an FPM office in the Bekaa area of Rachaya.

Bassil’s “thug” remark was the tip of the iceberg of long-simmering tension between the FPM and the Amal Movement that has its roots in Berri’s staunch opposition to the election of Michel Aoun as president in 2016. It is also a reflection of the open-ended political confrontation between Aoun and Berri over a decree that seeks to promote a number of Army officers who served under Aoun in the late 1980s when he was Army commander.

Protestors on Monday burnt tires and garbage across the country, bringing traffic to a halt. Berri supporters were reported to have thrown stones at an FPM office in Beirut and gunshots were also heard, though their source could not be confirmed.

Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Power & governance conflicts
Violent or non-violent conflicts associated with antagonisms related to internal political tensions between local and/or national groups and parties. These tensions may be encouraged by internal, regional and international parties. Such conflicts are characterized by their defiance and/or opposition to central State power and governance.