March 8, 2022
Hezbollah supporters beat a Lebanese man on Monday after he was seen chanting “Free Beirut, Iran out” and smashed a poster of slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
The Beirut International and Arab Book Fair is currently being held in the Lebanese capital, once hailed as a beacon of freedom of expression.
A large poster of Soleimani was seen at the Iran stand at the book fair alongside books and other pictures of him and Iranian leaders.
Heading to the poster of Soleimani, the man protesting began trying to take it down before another man confronted him.
#Lebanon: The Beirut international book fair has always been a space for cultural but also political exchange. We navigated that in the past years depending on the era. This year, Qassem Sulaimani’s theme seems to be present very boldly causing controversy + tension 1/3 pic.twitter.com/FX5KX8ZBl8
— Luna Safwan – لونا صفوان (@LunaSafwan) March 7, 2022
The protester kept chanting “Free Beirut, Iran out,” as he was attacked by a group of men saying, “we will show you what freedom is like.”
The book fair is run by former Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora’s sister, Salwa Sanioura Baasiri.
Hezbollah has been one of the main factors Lebanon has become isolated from the Arab world. Its control over state institutions and other facets of the country has also become an issue.
It is the only group with weapons outside of the state’s control, in addition to the weapons in Palestinian refugee camps.