Capital of Lebanon has been the center of protests of different kinds in recent weeks. Protesters demonstrate against economic, political, and judicial circumstance across the country.
Lebanon has witnessed a set of events and disastrous conditions each of which could lead to a full-scale crisis. From economic recess to political deadlock and miraculous explosion in Beirut port, the Lebanese experienced a year of unrest and anxiety.
About five months after the dreadful explosion in Beirut port, controversies continue about investigation process. Replacement of the case judge after he identified the Prime Minister along with three ministers responsible for the disaster left the families and relatives of the victims furious.
In the Beirut port blast known as the largest non-nuclear explosion ever, more than 200 citizen lost their lives, thousands injured and tens of thousands misplaced. Huge piles of ammonium nitrate stored in the city port in a dangerous condition and for a long time led to the disaster.
Judge Fadi Sawan was removed from the case due to the claimed reason of suspicion about his objectivity as his house was among the hundreds of buildings ruined by the blast. Last December, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, along with three former ministers, was charged with negligence over the incident by Sawan. He was removed from the case upon request by some government official by the Lebanese Court of Cassation.
Diab’s substitute, Tarek Bitar, is to take charge of a six-month investigations on which he has no information dominance. Protesters believe that the replacement of the judge only delays reaching the conclusion and endows the suspects with the chance of time.
They call it an “execution of justice” as the new judge has to read thousands of pages to reach the same spot as his predecessor. The decision had ruined “what remains of conscience and confidence between us and this rotten judiciary,” says brother of one of the victims and unofficial spokesperson of the families.
The families also promised not to tolerate any sort on leniency by the new judge. Lynn Malouf, Amnesty International deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, believes that a domestic investigation can’t “deliver on justice”. He also expressed concerns over potential political settlement during the process of investigations.
Following the explosion, the new wave of dissatisfaction and distrust with the current political leaders erupted. Delaying “Student Dollar Law” has symbolized the economic discontent and the financial pressure people suffer from. The law allows the students studying abroad to receive money.
Since then, hundred have been arrested in multiple demonstrations and a chain of rallies to condemn the violent confrontation of its previous ones has been occurring. The rule that six protesters in Tripoli have committed “terrorism and theft” instigated the latest round of demonstrations.
The famous Tripoli protests were arranged against the corruption of the economic system deteriorated by the pandemic and Beirut port disaster. A large section of Lebanese believe that government officials are responsible for the current crisis.
There are others who also believe the solution to the economic crisis and political failure is neutralization of Beirut’s politics towards the regional conflicts. As a Lebanon’s senior Christian cleric told the crowd at the church’s seat in Bkirki, “You came from all over Lebanon … to support two things: neutrality and an international conference for Lebanon under the auspices of the United Nations. In one word you came here to save Lebanon.”
The interference of international parties in local decision-making processes in Lebanon also emerged after the explosion when France, posing as an old nanny, made attempt in settling the administrative crises. No advancement, however, has been made since then. In any case, a foreign prescription for inside distresses is doomed to failure.