Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel slammed Hezbollah on Monday and accused its supporters at Universite Saint Jospeh, of provocations at the campus . He described the clash on Monday between pro-Hezbollah and pro-March 14 students at the University as “the most recent in a succession of provocations by Hezbollah.”
“What happened is a new episode in a series of provocations by Hezbollah,” Gemayel said in a press conference on Monday.
He also said that Hezbollah’s intention was “to cause a clash; they issued threats and used sectarian speech that targeted all of the university’s students.”
He revealed that Hezbollah supporters had scribbled graffiti on the walls of the university hailing Habib al-Shartouni, who was convicted with the assassination of former President Bashir Gemayel in 1982.
“The graffiti provoked all students at USJ regardless of their affiliations,” added Gemayel.
Moreover, he said that the Hezbollah supporters continued on provoking the students for several hours until the security forces and army intervened.
He criticized the the delayed response of the security forces in containing the tensions, warning that the situation could have gotten out of hand.
“A major problem was averted in Ashrafiyeh today,” Gemayel said.
“The situation could have been contained as soon as the tensions began, but for some reason the security forces took at least four hours to intervene,” the MP added.
“The army only intervened when it seemed that a clash was going to take place, which demonstrates that the state does not take immediate action to contain any tensions. Why do we leave matters to reach such a tense stage?” he wondered.
“We thank the army and security forces for containing the situation, but they could have been faster in doing so,” he stressed.
The lawmaker added: “We have warned several times that we will not keep our mouths shut, why does Hezbollah insist on testing our patience ?”
Gemayel then addressed Hezbollah’s leadership, asking: “Why do you plant hatred in the hearts of your supporters?”
“Do you seek to separate yourselves from the rest of the state? You must state your intentions openly,” he demanded.
“Do we provoke you when it comes to your resistance and martyrs?” he added.
“I do not understand how Hezbollah is allowing its supporters to create such divisions among the people, instead of working on uniting them,” he said.
“We will no longer remain silent over any provocation,” Gemayel warned.
A dispute erupted between pro-Hezbollah and pro-March 14 students at the Saint Joseph University’s [USJ] Huvelin campus in Beirut on Monday.
The dispute began when Hezbollah supporters brought students from other universities to the USJ campus as the March 14-affiliated students were celebrating their victory in last week’s student union elections. March 14, led by the Lebanese Forces, emerged the victors at the USJ’s student elections last Thursday for a second year in a row.
March 14 won 130 out of over 200 seats in the student council and dominated the largest faculty, the Campus of Social Sciences on Huvelin Street, the most important electoral battle.
Update: The Army Command responded to the criticism over the delay in intervening to stop the clashes by saying”: The dispute that erupted at one of the universities over student elections did not involve any violation of security that requires the intervention of army units and the army’s entry into any university requires a prior request from its administration.”
LBCI reported that USJ’s administration held a meeting with the student organizations of AMAL, SSNP and Hezbollah.
and will also hold a meeting with the student organizations of the LF, the Phalange Party and the National Liberal Party.