Lebanese demonstrators blocked the road outside the French embassy in Beirut on Monday after a French court postponed the release of Lebanese leftist striver George Abdallah.
Lebanese demonstrators blocked the road outside the French embassy in Beirut on Monday after a French court postponed the release of Lebanese leftist striver George Abdallah, who has spent 28 years in jail, as Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the “unjustified” delay.
According to Naharnet news website, dozens of supporters of Abdallah rallied in front of Paris' embassy in the Mat-haf area, condemning the policies of France and accusing it of being a proxy for the United States, which has openly rejected the release of the Lebanese activist.
A number of young demonstrators tried to storm the embassy but were repelled by security forces who reinforced their presence in the vicinity of the French diplomatic building. Both the organizers of the protest and the family condemned any attempt to attack the embassy or security forces protecting its premises, local media reported.
“We reject to be turned by some enthusiastic youths into guards for the embassy. We urge everyone to abide by democratic means and refrain from hurling any object at the embassy's building,” Joseph Abdallah, George's brother, told reporters at the scene.
Meanwhile, PM Mikati telephoned French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli, inquiring about the reasons behind delaying Abdallah's release.
“The delay in freeing Abdallah is an unjustified step that violates his civil rights,” Mikati told Paoli during the phone call, according to a statement released by the premier's office.
“The relevant French authorities must speed up his release so that he returns to his homeland and family,” Mikati added, stressing that “the Lebanese government has been following this case ever since it assumed its responsibilities and was preparing to welcome Abdallah upon his arrival in Lebanon.”
Earlier on Monday, Abdallah's brother, Joseph, threatened to organize protests outside the French embassy after France's interior minister refused to sign the Lebanese leftist's expulsion order.
A French court ruled last week that Abdallah can be released on condition he is expelled from French territory.
The 61-year-old was granted parole in November on condition of his expulsion but was not released pending a decision on an appeal by prosecutors.
The court in Paris confirmed the parole decision and said the interior ministry had until January 14 to issue the expulsion order.