Anger and grief broke out on Monday as hundreds of people gathered in different areas across Lebanon to mourn and protest the deaths of two people who died when their car hit a makeshift roadblock earlier in the day.
Hussein Chalhoub and his sister-in-law Sanaa al-Jundi were killed when their vehicle ran into a metal barrier placed on the main highway in Jiyyeh early Monday morning.
Nour Chalhoub, the daughter of Hussein Chalhoub, miraculously survived the accident, only to narrate the events that led to the car accident and, her witnessing her father and aunt burn inside the car. Nour was able to rescue herself and ran to find aid for her father and aunt, but aid came late.
In an interview with Nour, she said that an unidentified object was thrown at their car, which confused her father who was driving and prevented him from seeing the metal barrier blocking part of the road.
Due to the blurriness of Hussein’s vision, caused by the smacking object (speculated to be a stone), the car drove over the metal barrier and was then seen exploding.
Nour says that she got out of the car and asked the army forces on the street for help. Army forces were able to get fire extinguishers, which came out to be insufficient to put out the fire.
One of the surveillance cameras on that road reveals the moments when the car drove over the metal barrier and exploded. Due to the low quality of the video footage, it is unclear that an object was thrown at the car. The car appears sliding abruptly to the side, spinning, and exploding at once.
The video shows that protesters have blocked the bigger part of the highway, leaving an intersecting road to the right open for cars to exit from. Even though the footage does not indicate objects thrown at the car, a certain incident prevented Husein from stopping the car before hitting the metal barriers.
A new video from surveillance cameras shows what seemed like an Army truck putting up the barricade that was responsible for the car accident and the deaths of Hussein and Sanaa. Blames have not been made yet as we all wait for an official statement from the Lebanese Army.
هذا الفيديو يظهر بوضوح وضع الجيش لحواجز حديدية قبل 500 متر من نقطة التجمع في برجا، وهذا يؤكد الا علاقة للشبان بحادثة الجية، وبان السيارة مسرعة. رحم الله الضحيتين وسامح من استغل الحادث لاطلاق شرارة الفتنة في الشارع. سقطت مشاريعكن. الصبر لاهالي الشهداء وكل التضامن pic.twitter.com/3uDhmwupXl— Salman Andary (@salmanonline) November 25, 2019
The stories of how the accident occurred have been circulating around on social media. Some say that the accident was caused by the car hitting a metal pole, others say that the car drove at high speed and was unable to stop before the metal barriers, and others concur with the story of Nour.
Nonetheless, the diverse versions of stories do not make the accident less catastrophic nor does it ease down the pain and grief of the family and the people.
Candles were lit in different areas around Lebanon, including Saida, Beirut, and Mcharafieh. People expressed sorrow and condolences to the affected families, insisting on following up with investigations, and awaiting an official statement from the Lebanese Army.
As the nation mourns the death of two martyrs who, like others before them, fell victims of strives and corruption, people insisted on their rights to revolt peacefully and took responsibility for the accident.
“Blocking the roads was never intended to hurt our own people,” one of the people responsible for blocking the Jiyyeh highway spoke in an interview on MTV. “We block the roads as a way of pressuring people in power."
He continued saying: “What happened today is a tragedy and we all stand in support with our brothers and sisters affected. We will consider changing our way of blocking roads to focusing more on blocking the roads in front of governmental associations and politicians’ houses.”