At the announcement on Monday of the lawsuit by a politician against the leading investigator of the Beirut Blast, Judge Tarek Bitar, the Lebanese people rushed to call for a protest in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut at 1 PM on Wednesday.
However, the protest started with movements on Tuesday evening, with people gathering in front of the residence of the Head of the Court of Appeals, Judge Nassib Elia, calling for justice.
Judge Elia is tasked to decide on the lawsuit against Judge Tarek Bitar filed by former minister Nouhad Machnouk of the Future Bloc, a suspect in the Beirut Blast case who has been refusing to be questioned.
That controversial move has officially brought the already-lengthened investigation to a halt and the people to revolt against the politicization of the investigation and its continuous obstruction by politicians, including current parliamentarians.
The Beirut Blast is deemed the highest-profile case to have ever existed in Lebanon to date, considering the mass murder that occurred and the involvement of high officials, whether directly or indirectly.
Hence, like his predecessor on the case, Judge Bitar has been subjected to intense pressure to back off.
That includes politicians allying to obstruct the investigation, and more recently smear campaigns and threats. Head of Hezbollah‘s Internal Security, Wafiq Safa, threatened Judge Bitar earlier this month that they (Hezbollah) will remove him by force if the “legal path” doesn’t work.
Judge Bitar has been the people’s only hope for justice and, as he battles his way through the intense pressures and obstacles from the politicians, the Lebanese have been relentless in showing him full support, on social media as well as on the streets.
That has been more evident ever since the pressures on him started, including with MPs allying in a scandalous move to remove the case from his hands, and the parliament’s refusal to waive the immunity from its members.
A group of protesters, led by the lawyer and activist Wassef Al Harakeh, has even managed to enter the Justice Palace and hung a large banner of the Beirut Blast victims, bearing the statement “You will not kill us twice.”
The protest is still on as of the time of writing.
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