Lebanese parliament approves state of emergency
Published: 05:40 PM, 13 August 2020 Updated: 05:43 PM, 13 August 2020
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a parliamentary session on Thursday at Unesco palace to discuss last week`s massive explosion in Beirut. Reuters
Convening for the first time since Beirut's devastating explosion, Lebanese MPs have approved a two-week state of emergency. The law would give extensive power to the military to suppress resurging protests, reports Deutsche Welle.
According to the report, the Lebanese cabinet had declared a two-week state of emergency on August 5, the day after the Beirut blast that left at least 200 dead and some 6,000 injured. Parliament on Thursday voted for the emergency declaration eight days in, as is legally required, though it could have also voted it down.
The legislative approval that grants sweeping powers to the army, citing the exceptional circumstances in Lebanon, has emerged the fear of a new crackdown on those opposed to the ruling class looms after deadly blast creates more anger, reports Aljazeera.
Rights groups have raised serious concerns about the state of emergency, saying it would enable security forces to crack down on a public raging with anger against the ruling class following the blast, the middle eastern news media further stated.
If endorsed, the state of emergency law will give the military exceptional powers to snuff out renewed protests demanding the overthrow of a political elite widely held responsible for the devastating blast, human rights groups said also.
Activists and protesters worry the order will pave the way for a crackdown on anti-government demonstrators who have taken to the streets to demand change since the explosion.
The state of emergency allows the army to close down assembly points and prohibit gatherings deemed threats to national security, and expands the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a parliamentary session on Thursday at Unesco palace to discuss last week's massive explosion in Beirut. Reuters
According to the power given through the approval, the army can also raid homes at any time and impose house arrest on anyone engaged in activities considered to threaten security, the watchdog said.
There has been widespread anger against authorities who allowed a large shipment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to rot for years in a warehouse at the port despite repeated warnings.
Protests have rocked central Beirut on successive nights leading to scuffles with security forces who have fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government stepped down on Monday after several ministers said they would quit over the explosion.
Speaker Nabih Berri had said Thursday’s session would be to question ministers on the blast but with Cabinet's resignation, it was no longer possible.