Em Nazih Cafe Owner & Employees Got Arrested While Fixing Their Blasted Place In Beirut

Sana Asseh l Karen Azzi

On Monday, the 24th of August, Abu Nazih, the owner of the popular Em Nazih Cafe in Gemmayzeh and five of the cafe’s employees were arrested.

They were taken and detained while cleaning out the building that was severely affected by the Beirut explosion.

The owner’s daughter went live on Facebook when the arrest took place. Members of the Internal Security Forces asked for the workers’ ID, reportedly to check their nationalities, the thing that caused a dispute between Abu Nazih, his daughter, and the ISF members.

It can also be heard in the video that the daughter was shouting at the cops not to pull at Abu Nazih’s broken shoulder as they were forcing him away in handcuffs.

Em Nazih’s owner was badly injured in the explosion of Beirut port that blasted his cafe-restaurant.

The Internal Security Forces posted a clarification later that day, saying that they went to the cafe to get everyone out because it is at risk of collapse.

They also pointed out that they had already asked six foreign workers to leave and sent notices before.

The owner was arrested for obstructing police work and has now been released after pledging not to enter the building.


Naturally, controversial comments have been many on whether the time of these arrests, including checking on the migrant workers’ documentations, was appropriate. People have been struggling on their own to clean up their streets’ rubbles and fix their destroyed places.

It is worth noting that Em Nazih cafe-restaurant, which reputation has crossed the borders with many international vloggers making it their destination, is among the very first that has stepped up to help with disaster relief.

Right after the explosion, the owners vowed not to pay their taxes to the government but to the NGOs helping on the ground, as soon as they restore their place and are back in operation.

It doesn’t seem it will be any time soon.

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