Clashes erupted between Lebanese protesters and supporters of a lawmaker in President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) outside a restaurant, north of Beirut, a video circulated on social media shows.
The video showed protesters standing outside the restaurant and shouting, “Shame on you. The people outside are hungry, and you are sitting inside eating.” The video shows one protester shouting and saying the lawmaker’s bodyguards hit a female protester.
A fistfight erupted between the protesters and supporters of FPM parliamentarian Ziad Aswad, according to Lebanese media. The fight was quickly broken up. In the video, Aswad expressed his support for President Aoun, who Aswad said is “being targeted today and every day.” He added that, “No one can remove us from a restaurant, from a home, or from a street.”
The word “mabsouta” (happy) at the beginning of the video could be a reference to the viral slogan used by some anti-Aoun protesters to mock Lebanese citizen Jihane Khoury for expressing her happiness at Aoun’s election.
On Thursday, the incident was trending on Twitter, with a hashtag including an insult, across the Arab world, and it trended number one in Lebanon.
This is not the first incident where anti-government protesters chased former and current political officials in Lebanon out of public places.
Another incident happened in mid-December 2019 when protesters demanded that ex-premier Fouad Siniora leave a concert taking place at the American University of Beirut.
Then on January 5, protesters gathered outside a Beirut restaurant where Parliament Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli was having dinner with two other people. Protesters shouted slogans accusing Ferzli of being part of the corrupt political class.
Since October 17, Lebanon has been rocked by an unprecedented protest movement against an entrenched political class that is seen as corrupt and incompetent.