Palestinian refugees have staged a third consecutive day of protests in camps across the country against crackdowns on non-Lebanese workers by the Labor Ministry.
Since the early hours of Wednesday morning, protesters have blocked entrances to the camps, burning tires and laying down obstacles, and even prevented the entry of food products and fresh produce. Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians refused to go to work in Sidon and south Lebanon.
Last week, Labor Ministry inspectors closed down dozens of shops run by, or employing, non-Lebanese employees and fined dozens more. The order came after the end of a one-month grace period set by Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman for employers to ensure non-Lebanese workers had the correct documentation.
Overnight, a motorcade of vehicles toured the streets of Sidon in solidarity with Palestinian workers, with a group of men following in their wake burning tires. Units from the Lebanese Army were deployed to clear the roads and disperse the protesters.
Abousleiman said in a televised interview Tuesday that his ministry’s inspectors had found a total of 550 violations, only two of which involved Palestinians.
The Lebanese Forces minister also said the crackdown was not targeting Palestinians in particular and that “the Palestinian reaction is incomprehensible and nonsensical.”
The Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour called on Palestinians living in Lebanon to abide by the law and warned against being “dragged into something that does not serve our struggle.”
Abousleiman had met with the Dabbour and the chair of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee Monday to discuss ways of simplifying the process by which Palestinians obtain a work permit. However, no hard agreement has been reached.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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