BAALBECK, Lebanon: In an outcry over the security situation in Baalbeck, residents of the east Lebanon city went on a general strike Wednesday, calling for increased security measures. Shops, businesses, banks, schools and institutes closed their doors after the Baalbeck Municipality and local civil society groups called for a strike, intended to protest what the organizers described as the city’s lax security situation.
“I would like to remind officials ... that the crimes that are occurring are a result of the degraded security situation, which is encouraging killing and is contributing to the outbreak of drug dealing and drug abuse,” Baalbeck Mayor Hussein Lakkis said, during a protest that was held in front of the police station at Baalbeck’s southern entrance.
“The side responsible for putting an end to this scourge is the security forces, and we hope that those concerned will carry out their duties ... [for] our youth and their future,” Lakkis said.
The mayor made the call for the strike Tuesday, in a move designed to pressure the Internal Security Forces and other agencies to combat criminality in the city.
Residents rallied outside the Baalbeck Serail Monday to denounce rampant crime in and around the city.
The latest victim of local crime, Khalil Omar Solh, was shot multiple times and killed Thursday after verbal disagreement caused by a car crash. The Solh case is just the most recent in a string of incidents.
Lakkis met with Baalbeck-Hermel Gov. Bashir Khodr Wednesday, handing the governor a memorandum for the Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk.
Khodr noted that the protest reflected Baalbeck residents’ keenness to respect the law. “Today’s mobilization once again confirms that many in ... [Baalbeck] are on the side of the government, the law, institutions and in favor of security,” Khodr said.