Lebanese Security Forces Close Roads to Public Drivers’ Demo

da Al Manar – 22/04/2010 Lebanese security forces have blocked all roads Thursday leading to the Riyad El-Soloh Square in central Beirut where a demonstration for Lebanon’s public transportation drivers was supposed to take place to protest the increase of gasoline prices and the government’s neglect to the transportation sector.

Speaking to Al-Manar, the head of the General Labor Confederation (GLC) Ghassan Ghosn said that “today’s move was part of a series of steps to follow until we reach the major event on June 17, when the whole country will mark general strike.” Ghosn described today’s sit-in as successful.
The strike was called for by the Lebanese unions and syndicates for land transportation.
The sit-in in Beirut’s Mazraa area was supposed to be followed by a demonstration to the Riyad El-Soloh Square in central Beirut, but according to Ghosn, Lebanese security forces cut the road leading to the Square. He said transportation sectors’ officials will address the government from Al-Mazraa to demand it resolves their chronic problems.
For his part, Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi said that the plan to develop the transportation sector has not yet been raised in Cabinet meetings “because of some matters which we don’t want to get back to.” Speaking to the Al-Mustaqbal News television, Aridi said that during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, he requested a special meeting for ministers to discuss the plan, a request he added, was met positively by all ministers. Aridi stressed the drivers’ demands were rightful adding that the rise in gasoline prices was a problem for all the Lebanese.
Security measures in Beirut and other Lebanese areas have been taken by the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces. The Beirut demonstration was headed by Ghosn, the head of the Public Drivers’ Union Abdul Amir Najdeh, and the head of the Land Transportation Union Bassam Tlais.
The protesters stressed their move was not politically motivated, but designed to demand the right of honorable living for all the Lebanese.
The National News Agency (NNA) reported Thursday that public transportation vehicles blocked all main streets in Tripoli, cutting access to the areas of Abu Samra, al-Zahiriyeh, al-Mina and al-Tabbaneh.
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) deployed heavily in Tripoli, especially surrounding the local Serail, added the agency.

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