BEIRUT — Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad was captured on video being accosted by a group of people Sunday evening while leaving a bar in Beirut's Achrafieh neighborhood.
Here’s what we know:
• Videos circulating on social media show protesters, who identify themselves as belonging to the thawra (revolution) movement of October 2019, shoving Fayad and accusing him of being drunk when a tragedy had occurred a few hours earlier in Tripoli.
• The night before, a boat carrying around 60 people being smuggled out of the country was shipwrecked off Qalamoun. The latest report, released by the army, cites six deaths. This affair has angered the population, fueling tensions in the region and across the country.
• In the videos, a man, later identified as activist Elie Haykal, can be heard warning the minister.
• “We are sending you a message on behalf of the Lebanese people, so that you wake up,” he said, before throwing him against a wall.
• Other videos show several people filming the minister while admonishing him for drinking and going out while “not all bodies have yet been found.” Recently, photos of the minister posing in front of the pyramids during a trip to Egypt caused an uproar on social media, with many accusing him of vacationing while much of the country continues to survive without electricity. An almost complete lack of power provided by the state’s electricity provider Electritié du Liban has forced people to pay private generator fees that now amount to almost six times the minimum wage.
• Reacting to the incident, Fayad called on Lebanese officials and the security services to take the necessary measures, assuring that he "will file a personal complaint" against anyone involved. "Arresting the aggressor[s] is not enough, they must be punished in the name of the people," he added.
• The act of confronting and sometimes attacking politicians in public by activists, often in or outside restaurants and bars, occurred frequently during the Oct. 17 popular uprisings. Some social media accounts, such as “Thawramap” on Instagram, made a point of tracking and circulating the comings and goings of politicians for this very purpose. As Lebanon sinks deeper into what the World Bank has called one of the worst economic crises in modern history, such acts of civil disobedience have become more frequent again.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Elie Haykal was arrested during the night following the Sunday evening incident. Haykal, however, was not arrested at that time; rather he turned himself in to the police on Tuesday.
BEIRUT — Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad was captured on video being accosted by a group of people Sunday evening while leaving a bar in Beirut's Achrafieh neighborhood. Here’s what we know: • Videos circulating on social media show protesters, who identify themselves as belonging to the thawra (revolution) movement of October 2019, shoving Fayad and accusing him of being...