TYRE, Lebanon: Palestinians in south Lebanon’s Rashidieh refugee camp blocked one of the camp’s entrances with burning tires Monday to protest the Labor Ministry’s recent crackdown on undocumented foreign workers.
Palestinians in the Rashidieh camp have burned the tires since early Monday morning, and stopped anyone from entering or leaving the camp. Lebanese Army personnel gathered in the area, as thick black smoke could be seen from afar.
Residents of Rashidieh and Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp prevented Lebanese products such as vegetables, fruit and bread from entering the camp.
The Labor Ministry has been closing businesses across Lebanon that either were owned by or employed foreign nationals without the necessary paperwork.
Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman launched a plan last month with measures to crack down on unauthorized labor, giving workers and their employers a one-month grace period to apply for a permit. That period ended Tuesday.
The Syrian refugee population has been a particular target of the ministry’s campaign.
The minister also said last month that according to the latest figures, just 1,733 Syrian nationals possessed a legal work permit, which he described as a “drop in the ocean” of the actual number of working Syrians.
At a news conference Wednesday, Abousleiman said, “Our goal is to regulate foreign labor and grant work permits” in accordance with the law, in addition to “giving priority to Lebanese labor.”