Supporters of Mustaqbal, Rival Candidate in Beirut Brawl
A clash erupted Monday morning in Beirut's Caracas area between supporters of al-Mustaqbal Movement and others loyal to rival Beirut parliamentary candidate Nabil Bader, who is running on a Beirut list led by al-Liwaa newspaper editor-in-chief Salah Salam.
LBCI TV said tensions between the two groups had started after Bader rented an apartment in Caracas and turned it into an electoral campaign office, which “provoked” Mustaqbal's supporters.
“The two parties charged against each other and exchanged verbal insults, which prompted security forces to intervene to contain the situation,” LBCI said.
Al-Jadeed television meanwhile said “a group from al-Mustaqbal Movement attacked the office of parliamentary candidate Nabil Bader in Beirut's Caracas area in an attempt to remove the candidate's posters and shut down the office.”
“The group hurled stones at the office and shouted insults against the candidates of the Beirut al-Watan List, as security forces arrived on the scene and restored order,” al-Jadeed added.
“The candidates Bashar Qowatli and Salwa Khalil were coincidentally at the site at the time of the clash,” the TV network added.
Jamaa Islamiya MP Imad al-Hout, who is part of the Beirut al-Watan List, meanwhile told al-Jadeed that “some parties are inciting people.”
“It's about time the interior minister separated between his role as interior minister and his role as parliamentary candidate. The time has come to rein in these groups and protect citizens,” al-Hout added, stressing that his electoral alliance's “only protector is the Lebanese Army.”
His fellow candidate Qowatli meanwhile said: “What happened today is unprecedented in Beirut's history. A billion 'blue amulets' cannot protect people, who can only be protected by awareness and impartial security forces.”
Qowatli's statement is a jab at al-Mustaqbal Movement, which has chosen a blue eye-like symbol as its electoral logo. In popular culture, the blue eye-like amulet is used to repel 'envy' and 'evil'.
“We call on the interior ministry to put an end to the disorder on the streets,” Qowatli added.
The incident follows a similar electoral clash that broke out Friday in Beirut's Barbir area between Mustaqbal supporters and others loyal to the businessman Raja al-Zuheiri, who is running for the Druze seat in Beirut on a list led by former judge Khaled Hammoud.