First Published: 2006-06-02

 
Lebanon: Protests over TV Hezbollah parody
 

Three hurt during street protests in Beirut over caricature impersonating Nasrallah on LBCI private TV channel.

 

Middle East Online

By Nayla Razzouk – BEIRUT

Nasrallah supporters burning tyres to block a highway

Three people were wounded during street protests overnight Friday by followers of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah after its chief Hassan Nasrallah was caricatured in a television satirical show.

Dozens of young men briefly cut off the Beirut airport road by burning tyres to block a highway located near Beirut's southern suburbs - a stronghold of the Lebanese militant group, police said.

"God, Nasrallah and all of the southern suburbs," chanted the men, waving yellow Hezbollah flags.

After the programme ended late Thursday, Hezbollah followers also staged night-time protests in various parts of the capital, in several towns in southern Lebanon, and in the Bakaa Valley near the border with Syria.

The protests only ended after Nasrallah personally made a plea for calm on television during the night in order "to protect the country's security and stability".

He also called for the need to find ways to protect "political and moral values".

"Three of us spent the night in hospital for treatment after we were beaten" by protestors in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafiyeh, said Sami Gemayel, son of former president and the supreme chief of the Christian party Kataeb, Amin Gemayel.

Gemayel said that he suffered bruising to his back, and university students Gilbert Rizk and Bassam Samarani underwent surgery on their faces and noses.

"We were awaiting the army to stop the protestors from entering Ashrafiyeh, and we did not want them to enter Monot street," which is lined with restaurants and nightclubs, he said.

"Then, suddenly dozens of them attacked us. They beat us with their hands, iron bars and batons," said Gemayel.

The weekly satirical programme, which showed a man wearing a beard and turban impersonating Nasrallah, is broadcast on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) private TV channel, and includes sketches which regularly portray Lebanese politicians.

LBCI was formerly the mouthpiece of the Lebanese Forces militia.

"This programme is part of a campaign aimed at liquidating the resistance," Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar told reporters during the overnight protests.

Later Friday, the country's National Audiovisual Council broadcasting watchdog held a special session to denounce the broadcast, and demanded an explanation from LBCI.

"If LBCI does not apologize, the Council will take disciplinary measures against it, since the broadcasting law forbids attacks on religious figures," the watchdog's president Abdel Hadi Mahfouz told journalists.

The show's producer, Charbel Dagher, has already apologized publicly, saying the programme was not intended to undermine the Hezbollah leader.

Hezbollah has faced growing domestic and international pressure to disarm, particularly with the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which was adopted in September 2004 and called for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, the only armed group not required to lay down its weapons after the 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon because it was spearheading the fight against Israel, is considered a terrorist organisation by Washington.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe

UN urges de-escalation in Iraq

Haley: Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive behaviour