On Friday, members of the fundamentalist Sunni political group, Hezb at-Tahrir, arrived in buses from North Lebanon to Beirut to protest in front of the French Embassy, denouncing the reemergence of the controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
The protest, which kicked-off after Friday prayer, comes a day after the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Carrying the party’s black flags, the members marched towards the embassy in Beirut as riot police stood guard nearby.
During the protest, angry protesters also burned the flag of France.
It wasn’t long until riot police had to use force and tear gas to push back the mob as protesters reportedly hurled rocks and sticks at authorities and tried removing the barbwire fence blocking their path to the embassy.
In early September, Charlie Hebdo republished the same cartoons of 2015 depicting Prophet Muhammad that had triggered back then the deadly attack on the magazine’s office, killing 11 of its staff.
Consequently, French President Macron’s defended the right of freedom of expression, which was understood as defending the satirical magazine’s right to publish the cartoons. It pushed many Muslim-majority countries to erupt in protest.
Many human right’s activists expressed their opinions about France’s stance too, for example:
However, that doesn’t justify the many horrific terror and racial attacks that are happening in France.
Yesterday, three people were killed in a church in Nice, France. And before that, two French women were charged with stabbing two veiled women in Paris.
According to CNN, the terror in France is reigniting the national debate on the “right to offend,” however, it’s obvious to say: violence should never be the answer.
Finally, these protests come after France has stepped up in support of Lebanon, where it seeks to help revive the economy and renew stability.