Secretary-General of the Future Movement (FM) Ahmad Hariri was having dinner in a restaurant in Downtown Beirut when protesters, led by two women, interrupted his evening to send out a message to all the politicians leading the country.
As heard in one of the videos of the incident, they blame Saad Hariri. head of the FM and several times Prime Minister, for neglecting to act while aware of the Ammonium Nitrate in Beirut port that caused so many deaths and destructions.
However, Ahmad Hariri’s team did not handle the situation well, as they resorted to violence, even going as far as to beat up the women.
The protesters, including the women who got beat up, were exercising their right to freedom of speech. No law forbids them from storming into a restaurant to call out corrupt officials.
On the other hand, the Secretary-General of the Future Movement’s team broke the Lebanese law.
It is to note that, according to Article 554 of the Lebanese Penal Code, “anyone who deliberately strikes, wounds, or otherwise injures a person who, as a consequence of such acts, suffers illness or incapacity for work for a period not exceeding 10 days, is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of six months, and a fine of between 10,000 and 50,000 Lebanese pounds.”
Clearly, it seems the women will be taking more than just 10 days off work as a result of the beating.
Lebanese officials are obliged to respect, protect, and promote human rights. The obligation to respect means that all state officials and personnel, including government agents and bodyguards, must refrain from any unlawful interference, especially when the victim is just exercising basic human rights.
However, this is not the first time protesters in Lebanon get assaulted by those meant to protect freedom of speech and expression and freedom of peaceful demonstration.
Lebanon has been a ground of protests and demonstrations since October 17th, 2019, and, similarly, a ground of violations of civic and human rights by officials and police.