Lebanese protesters tell police 'politicians robbing us both'

Lebanese protesters tell police 'politicians robbing us both'
Amid reports of police violence against protesters in Beirut over the past weeks, a video of an activist in his fifties shaming riot police officers has gone viral.
2 min read
21 Sep, 2015
There have been calls for accountability for the interior minister over police violence [Anadolu]
With recent demonstrations in Lebanon marked by escalating violence by security forces, a video has gone viral on social networking sites in Lebanon showing an emotional exchange between a middle-aged protester and a riot police officer in downtown Beirut.

The man has been identified as activist Ajwad Ayash. The video shows him urging a police officer not to assault him, telling him he was his father's age.

Visibly moved, the police officer replies: "You are my father's age, how can I strike you?!"

The two men exchange glances, before the officer says: "At your command," with a smile.

Heavy-handed reaction

Police brutality has been an issue in the ongoing anti-government corruption protests in Lebanon, triggered by a waste collection crisis that began in July.

The protests expanded from the waste issue to tackle Lebanon's chronic political paralysis and government dysfunction.

During the latest protest on Sunday, the police refrained from attacking the protesters, but there were reports supporters of Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri assaulted activists near the protest site.

The allegations of police brutality, documented with dozens of videos broadcasted on social media and Lebanese television, has prompted calls for the interior minister to be held accountable.

The minister has so far denied the police have been violent, dismissing what happened as individual incidents on which he says he has already taken measures.

The minister has even accused protesters of provoking the police.