Assir: ‘I won’t end protest until our demands are met’

Sheikh Ahmad Assir defied calls Thursday to end his blockade of a vital highway linking Beirut with south Lebanon, as the city’s business leaders grow increasingly impatient with the open-ended protest.

“I won’t end the protest until our demands are met,” Assir told The Daily Star from the northern entrance to Sidon, where he and his supporters have set up their camp.

His remarks came shortly after officials in the city urged the government to put an end to Assir’s road blockade, threatening an open-ended strike if Assir fails to stand down.

In the latest move to fortify the open-ended protest, Assir’s supporters erected a barbed wire fence around the site of the demonstration “to protect our women and children,” after having received information that “Shabbiha,” or pro-Syrian regime thugs, might attack those gathered.

Meanwhile, sources say they expect the protesters’ ranks to swell when Assir’s supporters from Tripoli arrive for Friday’s prayers.

Representatives from Sidon’s municipality, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Merchants Association, Federation of Trade Unions and Employees as well as civil society groups met Thursday to discuss the road closures.

“We call on the Lebanese authorities to take full responsibility, lift the siege of [Sidon] as quickly as possible, and remove all manifestations that are offensive to the city of Sidon, its people, and its economic and national roles,” said a statement issued at the end of the meeting.

“If our demands to deal with the situation are not met … we will find ourselves forced to take escalatory measures, including the declaration of a general strike,” it continued.

After the meeting, Ali Sharif, the president of the Sidon Merchants Association, said, “We can’t wait forever.”

“We won’t continue like this. It needs to be ended in a peaceful and civilized manner,” he added, referring to the protest.

The sit-in by Assir and his supporters on Sidon’s highway has hurt merchants’ livelihoods and limited road travel between Beirut and Sidon to only two routes, causing congested traffic at weekends.

Assir, who began his protest against Hezbollah’s arms June 28, is blocking the northern entrance to Sidon.

While the meeting was under way at Sidon’s Chamber of Commerce, dozens of merchants took to the city’s streets to protest the ongoing blockade of the Beirut-Sidon-south Lebanon highway.

The merchants, who say that Assir’s sit-in has been damaging for business, demonstrated for two hours at the Elia crossroads near Sidon’s Electricite du Liban headquarters.

The intersection links Sidon to Beirut and the south, and also serves as an exit to Jezzine.

The demonstrators brandished banners criticizing Assir for affecting their livelihoods with his protest.

In his comments to The Daily Star, Assir ridiculed the claims the merchants’ have been making.

“I don’t think the merchants are going to go bankrupt in 15 days or so,” he said of his two-week sit-in.

“They should have held a protest when [Sayyed Hasan] Nasrallah drowned us in the sea for 33 days,” he added, referring to Israel’s war against Lebanon in July 2006.

Assir said Sidon was continuing to suffer the economic repercussions of that war, and added that the merchants’ counter-protest represented “an attempt to salvage Hezbollah” warning that such attempts “will fail.”

“Everyone who wants to end [my] protest should show solidarity with us and pressure Nasrallah and [Speaker Nabih] Berri to give serious guarantees to the president about discussing the issue of weapons” at National Dialogue, Assir said.

There was no immediate comment from Lebanese authorities on the Sidon issue.

Assir claimed to have obtained information and photographic evidence of the Army conducting drills in the Sarafand region, south of Sidon, designed to break up street protests.

“The exercises might be designed with us in mind,” Assir said. “But we came here to die.”

Asked to verify rumors that he would call off the sit-in on July 25 to coincide with a fresh round of National Dialogue, Assir said: “We shall continue with the sit-in unless we are informed by authorities that the party of resistance [Hezbollah] has accepted to discuss its weapons.”

The Daily star

  • strongguy885

    May Allah be with you sheikh Assiri,Hezbollah is a cancer in Lebanon,  Hezbollah must be disarmed and surrender his weapons to the Lebanese army so we have real peace and balance in Lebanon. Let it an uprising by all people in Lebanon against Hezbollah and whoever supports them. This is the main problem in Lebanon today.

  • strongguy885

    May Allah be with you sheikh Assiri,Hezbollah is a cancer in Lebanon,  Hezbollah must be disarmed and surrender his weapons to the Lebanese army so we have real peace and balance in Lebanon. Let it an uprising by all people in Lebanon against Hezbollah and whoever supports them. This is the main problem in Lebanon today.

    • 73Corty77

      You sound like most people on this site. However why don’t you go one step further. Blame Hezbollah for the issues in the whole region. Even the Syrian issue. 

  • Hannibal

    Now we have shabihas in Lebanon? Great! It is time for the people to arm.

    • wargame1

      Yes and you are finally comprehending this. Apart from the Lebanese Government there is a Persian militia invading Lebanon and I call them Hezbushaitan who carry arms and its a shame that we overlook this disgusting reality. They have all king of Arms , doing drug dealing , abduction people , silencing any one who speak up against them. It is a Persian vessel government bossing around you.I am sure you were comfortable when they are around. But Aassir is not comfortable to see an extension of Shabiha to Lebanon. The unarmed civilian are now the victim of this Hezbushaitan militia which is more harmful than the Israelis. 

      This Assir  is now on the list of those like rafiq Harriri. But the timing is interesting where Hezbushaitan is already engaged helping Dog Bashar. Assir knows that Hezbushaitan might kill him but that is the spark the free Lebanese need to nail hezbushaitan down.Shabiha are in Lebanon for the last 40 years and their time is ending.

  • Now we have shabihas in Lebanon? Great! It is time for the people to arm.

    • wargame1

      Yes and you are finally comprehending this. Apart from the Lebanese Government there is a Persian militia invading Lebanon and I call them Hezbushaitan. They have all king of Arms , doing drug dealing , abduction people , silencing any one who speak up against them. It is a Persian vessel government bossing around you.I am sure you were comfortable when they are around. But Aassir is not comfortable to see an extension of Shabiha to Lebanon. The unarmed civilian are now the victim of this Hezbushaitan militia who is more harmful that the Israelis. 

      This Assir  is now on the list of those like rafiq Harriri. But the timing is interesting where Hezbushaitan is already engaged helping Dog Bashar. Assir knows that Hezbushaitan might kill him but that is the spark the free Lebanese need to nail hezbushaitan down.Shabiha were in Lebanon for the last 40 years and their time is ending. 

  • 73Corty77

    Just love how they call anybody who is pro Syrian government thugs. But the Free Syrian Ass holes are referred to as liberators even though they are running around killing innocent people. I might start thinking that maybe, just maybe Ya Libnan might be a little biased. This Assir will soon be asked to get back in the dog box he came out of.   

  • 73Corty77

    Just love how they call anybody who is pro Syrian government thugs. But the Free Syrian Ass holes are referred to as liberators even though they are running around killing innocent people. I might start thinking that maybe, just maybe Ya Libnan might be a little biased. This Assir will soon be asked to get back in the dog box he came out of.   

  • Moe2000

    This guy is dirty little Wahhabi devil.. Assirshayton needs to go back into the cave he came out of…. All that garbage that comes out his mouth is sectarian….  Eventually he will try to close off the other Saida road fully blocking south Lebanon…. When that happens i promise you he will run back to his cave in 1 hour… You cannot block one side of the entire country from the other side, he is asking for trouble….

    • 73Corty77

      Moe, if trouble is what he what’s, trouble is what he will get. But seriously look at this dick. He would shit him self if Sayyed Hassan goes boo. I think Sayyed Hassan should just ignore him. You see its like a dog, It starts to bark however if you ignore it long enough it will just shut up. And if it doesn’t shut up, Well just put the animal down.

    • 73Corty77

      Moe, if trouble is what he what’s, trouble is what he will get. But seriously look at this dick. He would shit him self if Sayyed Hassan goes boo. I think Sayyed Hassan should just ignore him. You see its like a dog, It starts to bark however if you ignore it long enough it will just shut up. And if it doesn’t shut up, Well just put the animal down.

  • Moe2000

    This guy is dirty little Wahhabi devil.. Assirshayton needs to go back into the cave he came out of…. All that garbage that comes out his mouth is sectarian….  Eventually he will try to close of the other Saida fully blocking south Lebanon…. When that happens i promise you he will run back to his cave in 1 hour… You cannot block one side of the entire country in he is asking for trouble….

    • 73Corty77

      Moe, if trouble is what he what’s, trouble is what he will get. But seriously look at this dick. He would shit him self if Sayyed Hassan goes boo. I think Sayyed Hassan should just ignore him. You see its like a dog, It starts to bark however if you ignore it long enough it will just shut up. And if it doesn’t shut up, Well just put the animal down.

  • dateam

    whose funding them? how can they afford to sit there and not work? plus hes got guests coming down from tripoli?i wonder where this will go once ramadan starts?

    • 5thDrawer

      What work ?
      Looks ‘Festive’. Will be more colourful when they begin to slit lambs throats. 😉 A little smellier too ….. :-)))

    • 5thDrawer

      What work ?
      Looks ‘Festive’. Will be more colourful when they begin to slit lambs throats. 😉 A little smellier too ….. :-)))

    • 5thDrawer

      Guests ?? Tripoli Refugees … tired of living with 2 hrs electric, no cell-or-inter nets, and guns going off at all hours.

    • 5thDrawer

      Guests ?? Tripoli Refugees … tired of living with 2 hrs electric, no cell-or-inter nets, and guns going off at all hours.

  • dateam

    whose funding them? how can they afford to sit there and not work? plus hes got guests coming down from tripoli?i wonder where this will go once ramadan starts?

    • 5thDrawer

      Looks ‘Festive’. Will be more colourful when they begin to slit lambs throats. 😉 A little smellier too ….. :-)))

    • 5thDrawer

      What work ?

  • slick101

    In the west, you need a permit to demonestrate on public property without disrupting other people’s businesses or affairs, you make you point and then you go home. In the gulf arab states, demonestrating is prohibited. In Lebanon you can do anything and for as long as you want and with impunity.

    This guy and he clonies need to go home by any means. 

    • 73Corty77

      Only a matter of time. He will run with his tale between his legs.

    • 73Corty77

      Only a matter of time. He will run with his tale between his legs.

  • slick101

    In the west, you need a permit to demonestrate on public property without disrupting other people’s businesses or affairs, you make you point and then you go home. In the gulf arab states, demonestrating is prohibited. In Lebanon you can do anything and for as long as you want and with impunity.

    This guy and he clonies need to go home by any means. 

    • 73Corty77

      Only a matter of time. He will run with his tale between his legs.

  • Moe2000

    Funny pics of this moron…

    • 73Corty77

      Moe, Funny. Freaking hilarious

    • 5thDrawer

      Ecology-minded cyclist … nice … 😉

      • master09

        I think they will all  end up living undergroud one day…it is cooler, less noice and don,t have to worry about rent. Some already live that life below Beirut south, somewhere….with a tunnel into Isreal…

    • 5thDrawer

      Ecology-minded cyclist … nice … 😉

      • master09

        I think they will all  end up living undergroud one day…it is cooler, less noice and don,t have to worry about rent. Some already live that life below Beirut south, somewhere….with a tunnel into Isreal…

  • Moe2000

    Funny pics of this moron…

    • 73Corty77

      Moe, Funny. Freaking hilarious

    • 5thDrawer

      Ecology-minded cyclist … nice … 😉

      • master09

        I think they will all  end up living undergroud one day…it is cooler, less noice and don,t have to worry about rent. Some already live that life below Beirut south, somewhere….with a tunnel into Isreal…

  • husseinbazzi

    These wahabis salafis what ever you call them or they want to be called are a realy hilarious.Just seeing them protest on push bikes cause the say its a sin to drive cars,and they claim that hezbollahs arsenal is a threat to lebanon.This shayke really needs a reality check and needs to get his priorities straight.All of a sudden he pops out of his cave forgetting that isreal was created on palestinan land for more than 64 years occupied lebanon for more than 22 years constantly invades lebanon and not forget is always killing palestinans.Hey Shayke go to mcdonalds and order a extra thick SHAYKE it will suit you.

    • 73Corty77

      What would suit him is a pole up his ass more like it. OH what a minute he might enjoy that. After all being ass jabbed is part of the salifi religion. Sorry I take my comment back about the pole.

  • husseinbazzi

    These wahabis salafis what ever you call them or they want to be called are a realy hilarious.Just seeing them protest on push bikes cause the say its a sin to drive cars,and they claim that hezbollahs arsenal is a threat to lebanon.This shayke really needs a reality check and needs to get his priorities straight.All of a sudden he pops out of his cave forgetting that isreal was created on palestinan land for more than 64 years occupied lebanon for more than 22 years constantly invades lebanon and not forget is always killing palestinans.Hey Shayke go to mcdonalds and order a extra thick SHAYKE it will suit you.

    • 73Corty77

      What would suit him is a pole up his ass more like it. OH what a minute he might enjoy that. After all being ass jabbed is part of the salifi religion. Sorry I take my comment back about the pole.