BEIRUT — Elie Haykal, the activist accused of assaulting Energy Minister Walid Fayad on Sunday evening, turned himself in at the Zouk Mosbeh police station Tuesday afternoon, Haykal’s lawyer confirmed to L’Orient Today.
Here’s what we know:
• “We felt that the Internal Security Forces were looking for him and that’s why we decided to turn him in,” Haykal’s lawyer told L’Orient Today, adding that the ISF will soon move Haykal to the Achrafieh police station.
• Fayad was captured on video on Sunday being accosted by a group of people while leaving a bar in Beirut's Achrafieh neighborhood.
• 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 just hours after the tragic sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Tripoli.
• On Saturday night, the boat carrying around 60 people which were being smuggled out of Lebanon was shipwrecked off Qalamoun. The latest report, released by the army, cites seven deaths. The matter 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 pushing him against a wall. For his part, Fayad on Monday called on Lebanese officials and the security services to take the necessary steps, assuring that he will “file a personal complaint” against anyone involved.
• This is not the first time Fayad has been involved in such an incident at a bar. He experienced a similar incident with a group of protesters at a bar in Hamra. Fayad was shoved by a group of activists in 2020, long before becoming a minister. On that occasion the shoving followed his making comments about the thawra while sitting with the former Minister of State for Investment and Technology Adel Afiouni.