Lebanese protesters storm al-Jazeera's Beirut office
Lebanese activists vowed to file a lawsuit against the journalist for his remarks. (AFP/File)
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A group of Lebanese activists held a protest at the offices of Al-Jazeera television station in Beirut Sunday expressing anger over comments made by a journalist against the Lebanese Army.
Carrying banners in support of the military, dozens of activists from a previously unknown group named “Omega” gathered at the offices of the television station in the Clemenceau neighborhood of Beirut, calling on TV host Faisal al-Qassem to apologize for anti-Army remarks he made over the weekend.
The protestors said they refused to vacate the Beirut offices of the Qatar-owned satellite news channel until Qassem apologized.
A Syrian journalist and a host of the weekly al-Itijah al-Muakis (The opposite direction) talk-show aired by Al-Jazeera , Qassem posted on his twitter account that the only achievements the Lebanese Army had made since its establishment were shooting video clips with Lebanese singers Wael Kfoury, Najwa Karam, Elissa and Haifa Wehbe along with arsoning the camps of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
His remarks came days after the Army intensified a crackdown on Syrian refugee camps in the northeastern town of Arsal.
One of the camps was set ablaze during the operation. The military said soldiers did not torch the settlement, but that three individuals tried to set the camp ablaze and were arrested by the Army.
Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said that Army measures in Arsal aimed at protecting the town which was briefly occupied by militants from ISIS and the Nusra Front last month.
Qassem’s remarks outraged many Lebanese who started a hashtag on Twitter insulting the journalist’s mother. The hashtag trended over the weekend with some Twitter users cursing Qassem and requesting that he apologizes for what he said.
Lebanese activists also vowed to file a lawsuit against Qassem Monday for insulting the Army and "undermining the prestige of the state."
Qassem responded on twitter by reiterating his stance and further mocking the Lebanese Army.