Human Rights Watch (HRC) has had its eyes on Lebanon, and more so now with the latest brutality witnessed in Beirut this week.
HRC is one of the world’s leading international non-governmental organizations that conduct research and advocacy on human rights, and it is asking to hold accountable the officers who violently attacked protesters and media people.
HRC has commented on the Lebanese protests in the past, calling for law enforcement to handle protesters peacefully and engage in keeping them safe rather than further violating their rights.
In its latest article, HRC reports: “Lebanon’s riot police beat and violently arrested largely peaceful protesters and media workers during demonstrations on January 15, 2020.”
Calling out the Minister of Interior, they further stated: “The Interior Ministry should promptly hold law-enforcement officers accountable for using excessive force.”
Their press release further depicts the violent nature of Lebanon’s ongoing second waves of protest. It describes the hundreds of protesters who gathered in front of the El-Helou police station in Beirut on January 15 to demand the release of more than 50 protesters.
On the evening of January 14, 2020, the Internal Security Force’s riot police charged on that crowd.
They fired large amounts of teargas at protesters, beaten up some severely, and violently arrested at least 50 people who reportedly threw water bottles and firecrackers at police.
In his public statement, Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch stated: “The unacceptable level of violence against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters on January 15 calls for a swift independent and transparent investigation.”
“The vicious riot police attack on media workers doing their jobs is an egregious violation of security force obligations to abide by human rights standards.”
HRC has reportedly been investigating human rights violations throughout Lebanon’s revolution across both its waves.
On their official website, they announced that they have retrieved the information on the latest streak of violence from their interviews with six protesters and three media workers who witnessed the violence.
All six protesters asked to remain anonymous for their protection. And rightfully so.