Twelve activists affiliated with “You Stink” claimed they were assaulted near Nijmeh Square in Downtown Beirut Thursday by Parliament police.
The activists were having dinner at a Downtown restaurant, before the alleged attack. They were planning on holding a mock celebration to mark one year since Parliament extended its own mandate.
Tarek Mallah, an activist with the campaign, told The Daily Star that a group of 12 young men and women had reserved a table at Al-Balad Restaurant near Nijmeh Square for dinner, where they also brought a cake as part of their celebration.
As they left Nijmeh Square, they passed Parliament where they claim they were assaulted by dozens of Parliament police. All the activists were beaten and some were dragged on the ground and then thrown out of the square. He also said security forces did not check their identification cards when they first entered the central part of Downtown Beirut.
“[Activist] Lucien Bourjeily was hospitalized as a result,” You Stink activist Imad Bazzi told the Daily Star. “He was later discharged after it was clear that there were no fractures ... we are all shaken up though.”
Parliament police were not available to comment on the incident.
Parliament extended its own mandate for a second time on November 2014 for two years and seven months, angering civil society activists who say the move violated the Constitution and undermined the democratic process.
Nijmeh Square has been completely blocked off since civil society campaigners began protesting in the area in July over the country’s ongoing trash crisis.