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HomeForeign NewsPost-Blast State of Emergency in Beirut Gets Legislative Approval

Post-Blast State of Emergency in Beirut Gets Legislative Approval

By DUBEM MONDAY, with agency report

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A state of emergency was on Thursday approved for Beirut as the country’s legislature met for the first time since last week’s deadly blast in the city.
The state of emergency has given authorities powers to suppress any move seen as a threat to national security.
The parliamentary approval came nine days after the massive blast ripped through Beirut’s port, killing at least 171 people and injuring some 6,000 others.
The blast, which devastated large parts of Beirut, prompted street protests that forced the government to resign on Aug. 3.
The previous government, led by Hassan Diab until Aug. 5, had imposed a two-week state of emergency in Beirut.
Independent lawmaker Ousama Saad told Lebanese television New TV that the move gives the army powers to ban gatherings and expands the jurisdiction of military courts.
Many parliamentary blocs did not attend Thursday’s meeting, lawmakers said.
The 128-strong parliament also accepted the resignations of seven lawmakers, who quit in the wake of the Beirut blast.
The meeting took place amid heavy security at the UNESCO Palace and not in the parliament building in central Beirut.
Some of the street protesters expressed concern that approving the emergency state was aimed at suppressing demonstrations against the ruling class in the country.
“By virtue of this decision, the army can enter civilian homes and arrest anyone whom they think is breaching what they describe as national security.
“This decision is against the free people of Lebanon” activist Lina Boubis told dpa.
Lebanon has been roiled since Oct. 17 by protests against the country’s ruling class, whom the demonstrators accuse of mismanagement and corruption.

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