Beirut, Lebanon – The Lebanese parliament passed a state of emergency giving the military a raid, citing special situations in the country following a massive explosion in Beirut last week.
The Cabinet declared a two-week emergency on August 5, a day after the Beirut explosion left at least 200 people dead and about 6,000 injured. Congress on Thursday voted for the emergency declaration for eight days, as required by law, though it may have voted.
The state of emergency allows the military to limit freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, as well as entering homes and arresting anyone seen as a security threat.
Judicial proceedings will take place in the country’s military courts, which Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups have shown do not adhere to the standards of the proceedings.
Human rights groups have raised serious concerns about a state of emergency, saying it would allow security forces to suppress a public attack with anger against the ruling class following the explosion. .
The massive explosion – one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history – was fueled by about 2,750 tons of dangerous chemicals stored at the port of Beirut for nearly 7 years, with the knowledge of political officials and top security.
‘Room for objection’
Citing the “militarization of the state”, MP Osama Saad was the only one of the 119 members, a figure that fell after 9 MPs resigned since the blast, in protest of a state of emergency.
National Assembly Chairman Nabih Berri replied that the military “did not take steps that people feared, nor did it suppress television. [channels] and despite the chaos in the media, it did not interfere and left room for protest, “according to local media. The session was not televised and, therefore, statements made by the houses. Legislation is communicated by local media.
But the Lebanese army, the Internal Security Forces and armed plainclothes officers were observed using excessive force on anti-establishment protesters on Saturday.
About 728 people were injured, many others had serious injuries that required emergency surgery. About 12 journalists were also assaulted, including at least 4 soldiers assaulted by soldiers, one of which was reporter Al Jazeera.
The emergency is set until August 21 but can be extended.
Karim Nammour, a member of the legal NGO Legal Agenda, told Al Jazeera that the state of emergency was absolutely unnecessary to deal with the aftermath of the Beirut blast, as the country was was in a state of “total mobilization” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This general mobilization gave the cabinet the power to mobilize the armed forces and control stores and strategic matters, including price controls for things like glass and wood,” as well as raising the rubble and giving relief to the people, “said Nammour.
“The only real reason we can see for the emergency is to give the security forces as much control of the street as possible – to give legal coverage to those who don’t,” he said. which would otherwise be impossible ”.
“The regime knows that it is weak and unpopular on the streets, and they are frightened by their fingers pointing at them, and there are calls for revenge.”