As part of its Christmas social media campaign, the Lebanese ISF published a heartwarming video on its official Twitter account. The video, released on December 24th, showed riot police officers deployed in downtown Beirut, questioning random protesters -women cleaning the streets around the tents- and then asking them to come with them, like what seemed as an arrest.
They escorted them towards the backdoor of a parked ISF vehicle. Upon reaching the back of the vehicle, the doors opened widely and a man dressed as Santa Claus suddenly comes out, ringing a bell in his hand, surprising the protesters. He wished them Merry Christmas while handing them and their children gifts.
Santa and the officers then took pictures with the protesters, who were dumbfounded and pleasantly surprised by the wholesome prank. The unsuspecting children were especially delighted by the unexpected, colorful bounties.
The video got thousands of likes and was admired and widely shared by Lebanese social media users. The ISF captioned the video “This is what Papa Noel and riot police did in downtown Beirut,” under the hashtag إيد_بإيد_منتشارك_بالعيد# (Hand in hand, we share the holiday). The ISF video concluded with a message of appreciation: “We thank you. With small initiatives like these, we build Lebanon.”
Many commenters thanked the ISF for its kind initiative and encouraged the strengthening of their visible bond with the protesters, urging security forces to continue performing their duties and protecting the peaceful protests and sit-in sites.
The ISF’s Twitter account was as active this Christmas as were its officers on the ground. The police took its routine security measures at the entrances of various churches across Lebanon, around major Christmas trees in some areas, and in other popular and protest locations such as Riad Solh Square.
A couple of deployed officers were photographed assisting a citizen re-ignite his dead car by pushing it along the road in Hazmieh. Another uplifting image that circulated social media on Christmas showed an ISF officer offering a helping hand to a lady who was assisting an elderly woman to climb the stairs of what seems to be a church.