Downtown Beirut on lockdown ahead of Parliament dialogue

Published September 9th, 2015 - 08:44 GMT

Tight security measures were imposed Wednesday in downtown Beirut ahead of the first round of the National Dialogue at the Parliament in Nejmeh Square.

Internal Security Forces and riot police deployed heavily in the area, preventing citizens from reaching their work places as politicians were due to arrive at Parliament to hold all-party talks that are mainly aimed at ending the 15-month presidential vacuum and reviving the roles of the Cabinet and Parliament.

The entrances of downtown were closed off with barricades and barbed wire, causing traffic jams.

Some employees of businesses in the area were compelled to leave their cars and walk into the area.

ISF said Tuesday that Nejmeh Square would be off limits to protesters while rival leaders were meeting in Parliament.

The entrances of the Azarieh Building were also blocked off to prevent protesters from getting near the Environment Ministry, media reports said.

Police began Tuesday evening to fortify the entrances of downtown to block any attempt by protesters to access the area directly surrounding Parliament.

You Stink and other civil society groups have called for the demonstrations to be staged near Nejmeh Square to protest the all-inclusive talks. Other civil groupings as well as the Union Coordination Committee, the umbrella movement of civil servants and public and private schoolteachers, have said they would join the rally.

The ISF warned Tuesday that activists would only be allowed to demonstrate in Martyrs’ Square

The Lebanese army and other security agencies joined efforts, implementing a deployment plan that would protect the roads that politicians will take to reach the assembly.

Some activists will be flocking to downtown to hold a sit-in to coincide with the dialogue session that will convene at 12:00 p.m.

The gathering aims to pressure politicians gathering to discuss solutions Lebanon's political deadlock in Cabinet, Parliament and presidential election sessions.

However, the official protest is scheduled at 6 p.m.

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