BEIRUT — Concrete blocks barring access to the Lebanese Parliament were fully dismantled Friday after incumbent Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri requested reduced security measures ahead of the May 31 Parliament session.
Here’s what we know:
• On Monday, after the removal of the concrete barriers began, a spokesperson for Nabih Berri confirmed they would be entirely removed.
• The Parliament session, scheduled for May 31, aims to elect a Parliament speaker and a deputy Parliament speaker. Member of Parliament Elias Jaradeh called for the “removal” of the concrete barriers and “other barriers blocking citizens’ access to Parliament.” In a tweet, Jaradeh wrote, “Parliament is the house of the people. No walls should stand between a nation’s MPs and its citizens,” adding, “Before calling the deputies to any meeting, all the barriers that hinder or block people’s access to the Place de l’Etoile must be removed.”
• The barriers were put in place after protesters repeatedly attempted to infiltrate the Parliament building, often drawing a violent response, including the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, from the country’s security forces.
• At least 13 opposition candidates, many of whom were active participants in the October 2019 protest movement, were elected to Parliament in polls held on May 15. During Monday’s dismantling, members of parliament aligned with opposition groups linked to the October protests, Yassine Yassine (Rachaya-West Bekaa), Marc Daou (Aley) and Najat Saliba (Chouf) were present.