Bachir Abou Zeid, the Editor in Chief of the October 17 newspaper was pursued and attacked in his city in Nabatieh, according to a statement released by the paper’s editorial board on Saturday, May 23rd.
“The editorial board of the October 17 newspaper denounces the violent attack on its Editor in Chief, Bachir Abou Zeid, in his hometown of Kfar Roummane, in front of the home of Mukhtar Ali Shukron,” the statement said.
The assault took place after Abou Zeid was pursued in front of his house, “where members of the Amal Movement chased him in a convoy of cars and tried to kidnap him,” the statement added.
The statement added that Abou Zeid was attacked “because of an opinion he had posted on his personal [Facebook] page last night. Bashir was taken to Al-Najda Hospital, where his injuries were examined by the pathologist.”
The opinion that the Editor in Chief was assaulted for was a criticism of Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
On Thursday, Abou Zeid shared a post on Facebook saying: “Turn off the lights in front of Nabih Berri’s house and light up people’s houses.” The remark was quick to cause him trouble.
Shortly after sharing his criticism, some locals started cautioning Abou Zeid that members of “Amal” were looking for him in Kfar Roummane.
Meanwhile, a social media campaign targeting the activist took off to defame him, claiming that his father was stealing electricity for his business in Kfar Roummane, and directing threats toward Abou Zeid.
In response to the claim, Abou Zaid shared some of the recent bills that his father had paid for electricity and wrote more criticism of the Amal Movement and its leader Nabih Berri.
Later, on Saturday, he was attacked and hospitalized.
The incident came at a time when residents of Nabatieh and other Lebanese areas had been protesting due to long periods of power outages.
Following the assault on Bachir Abou Zeid and the online campaign against him, the hashtag كلنا_بشير_ابو_زيد# (#We_are_Bashir_Abou_Zeid) started in support of the activist.
Lebanese Actor and Activist Abdo Chahine wrote under the hashtag, which became the top trend on Twitter in Lebanon, “The free word is a weapon against the occupier and tyrant; the occupier prefers to wrestle the slaves and the tyrant makes of his flock a dairy cow.”