Lebanon News

Anti-sectarian rally marred by scuffle over provocative slogan

AMSHEET: An anti-secarian march in Amsheet was marred Sunday by a scuffle that broke out shortly after the rally began.

A male demonstrator in his 40s received bruises to the face when he was confronted by a young man who identified himself as a partisan of the Lebanese Communist Party.

Organizers and participants in the march quickly separated the two sides, although they continued to encounter each other as the procession continued.

The victim was carrying a placard reading “I don’t like weapons,” a reference to the tense debate over Hezbollah’s arsenal.

The assailant told The Daily Star that it was completely unacceptable for such slogans to be used in the anti-sectarian regime movement, since “this just brings us back to March 14 and March 8.”

As he received an ice pack for the bruises, the victim said he was aware of the political affiliation of the assailant, and told a friend: “It was those crazy guys from the LCP – what were they doing when I was in the party?” referring to the 20 years in age difference between them.

Another activist said both sides were wrong. “It’s completely unacceptable to react like this, but the guy brought it on himself, because this slogan provokes people,” the activist said. “In this movement, we have no business taking sides and using slogans that involve either the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, or Hezbollah’s weapons,” he said.

As for the day’s lighter points, a group of protesters repeatedly drew laughs when breaking into a chant whose first words were “Zenga zenga, dar dar,” a reference to Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi’s now-famous vow to pursue his opponents “alley by alley.” The chant at Sunday’s protest was “alley by alley, house by house, I promise you I won’t remain a jackass,” which rhymes in Arabic. 

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 28, 2011, on page 3.

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