On Wednesday afternoon, professors and employees at the Lebanese University (LU) organized a sit-in on the road leading to the presidential palace, aiming to pressure the Lebanese authorities to focus on the budget problems of their state-run university.
The professors later tried to cut off the road to the Baabda palace but the security forces prevented them, and a clash erupted.
According to circulating information, the professors wanted to block off the road for two minutes as a way to voice their opinions, but security forces denied them the move, leading to a collision between them.
The Minister of Education, Abbas Halabi, condemned the violent acts against the professors, expressing his solidarity with the teachers “to the fullest extent.”
Immediately after the protest, the professors issued a statement condemning the “unprecedented encroachment” of LU’s teachers and employees by the security forces while participating in a peaceful sit-in to demand legitimate rights.
“President Michel Aoun and the leaders of the security services called for an immediate investigation into the unfortunate events, and a formal apology for the blatant and unacceptable attack by its members,” the professors said in their statement.
“All participants in today’s sit-in are keen on their dignity and their concern for their rights and to meet their demands,” they said.
Consequently, this news caused a wave of anger since university professors are deemed respectable members of society and well-valued for their role in educating the country’s citizens.
Many condemned the reaction of the security officers, stating that the Lebanese University employees have the right to protest as their salaries are no longer sufficient to provide a decent livelihood.
Actor Ziad Itani tweeted a picture of “broken eyeglasses belonging to a Lebanese teacher, smashed by the security forces when he demonstrated for his rights…”, commenting that “maybe he protested because he doesn’t have the cost of changing those glasses.”
“The Lebanese state honors the teacher in its own way,” he added sarcastically.
Another Twitter user condemned the violent acts, saying, “They attack the professors of the Lebanese University who are the nation’s elite…and, in return, they protect the corrupt leaders who brought these professors to this miserable and desperate state.”