The President of the Republic, Mr. Elias Al-Hrawi, met yesterday with the Prime Minister and discussed the current situation with him. He also received a delegation of the Catholic community, including Ministers Nadim Salem and Elias Hanna, deputy Michel Moussa and Bishop of Saida George Kowaiter. Then, President Al-Hrawi was joined by a delegation of the state council, headed by judge Joseph Chaoul.
The vice-prime minister and home secretary, Mr. Michel El-Murr, held yesterday, a press conference, in which he praised the role played by the police forces, the Lebanese army and other security forces during the day. Concerning the strike, El-Murr said it included 10% only of the institutions on the whole Lebanese territory, and reaffirmed the government willingness to handle the social issue, but through dialogue. He added that about 40 to 50 people were arrested, only because they attacked police forces. Then, the Cabinet couldn't provide an escort to the peaceful demonstration, for it has just obtained confidence the night before, and this escort would be adopted by the government.
Stating that a temporary solution to the media issue was reached at the end of the parliamentary session, El-Murr reaffirmed the Cabinet decision banning any demonstration or gathering, and invited unions to open dialogue with the government, and discussed the living crisis.
The vice-president of the parliament Mr. Elie El-Ferzli, commented on the last parliament session, during which the governmental statement was discussed, and the audio-visual media issue was settled by a wish from the parliament to the Prime Minister to let non-authorized media function beyond November 30th 1996. The Prime Minister didn't take any commitment however.
The President of the parliament, Mr. Nabih Berreh, The Prime Minister, Mr. Rafiq Al-Hariri, along with many Ministers and deputies, visited yesterday the Mukhtara palace, and offered condolences to Minister Walid Jounblat, after the death of his cousin, Mrs Najwa Nasser Eddine. This is the first official visit after several weeks of political boycott between president Al-Hariri and Minister Walid Jounblat.
Al-mukhtara was also visited by Minister Talal Erslan and deputies Bahia Al-Hariri, Samir Azar, Soleiman Kanaan, Ayman Chokeir.
The Ministry of Information, Basem Essabeh, asked the non-authorized audio-visual media to abide by the law, and stop broadcasting political news, interviews and programs. Noting that this violation started two weeks ago, he warned off that if it didn't cease, the Ministry would have to take proceedings in vigor against these media.
Later on, Essabeh received a delegation of the Follow-up committee, and discussed the media demands. Essabeh informed the delegation of the necessity of abiding by the law, and contacts were made with the concerned media to stop these programs, Infact, the voice of lebanon, and the Voice of People announced ceasing political news.
Yesterday, Beirut was expected to see demonstrators start their march from U.N.S.C.O square and end it by the governmental palace, Sanayeh. To prevent this from occurring, great numbers of police forces and members of the Army were deployed on the capital entrances, and around the governmental palace and the opposition headquarters .
Demonstrators decided from the beginning to have a peaceful march, and to coordinate with police and Army forces. Orders were given to the Army members to inspect each car entering into Beirut, Which caused heavy traffic jam on northern, southern and eastern entrances.
Several other demonstrations, especially university students ones, were to join the main march, but even those students were blocked within campus of their universities. Beirut as a whole became a fragmented barrack, so that at 10:10, The prime Minister convoy could pass through the U.N.E.S.C.O square, towards Al-Mukhtara, while Helicopters were roaming above the mentioned square, in a unique security demonstration. Furthermore, when the demonstrators, including deputies Zaher El-Khatib, Nazih El-Mansour, Mr Ammar El-Mousawi, the former deputy Zuheir El-Obeidi, and the head of the general Labour Union, gathered at Barbir bridge tried to make a local sit-in, the anti-riot forces started to hit and arrest them, reporters and cameramen were not excluded. This group included some girls who carried flowers and intended to give them to cops, but orders were so severe that they couldn't react against such a noble gesture.
The general secretary of the Phalanges Party, Mr. Karim Bakradouni, related the facts:
There were about 50 people, including party members and university students, at Corniche El-Mazraa region, when a group of police forces came and started escorting us about 100 meters towards U.N.E.S.C.O. square, but suddenly another group of cops arrived and hindered our progress. Upon their request, we turned around and started back, but we discovered that we were besieged. Determined not to collide with the forces, we stood still, always besieged. One cop, however, claimed a demonstrator told him not to touch him, and took it as a pretext to start trouble, but since the Army members were watching one officer intervened and stopped any arrest. Then we went into Achrafieh to the Voice of Lebanon. There, we were besieged 2 hours.
The Follow-up committee held a meeting yesterday at 16:00 at the general Labour Union headquarters, where former deputy Habib Sadeq related how he was hit, among other people, by cops, while walking with demonstrators in Barbour street.
Thus, Beirut was actually divided into two parts, separated by corniche El-Mazraa boulevard, taken as front line to defend the governmental palace, isolated all day long, from the Lebanese people.
*The monthly bulletin of the Lebanese Bank Association showed, in the 10th issue of last September, that the general debt increased, during September, 5,5%, reaching 17700 billion L.P.
*The writer of the E.S.C.W.A. survey on "Poverty in Lebanon," Dr. Antoine Haddad, pointed in a note that this survey was conducted in 1994, reviewed and reedited in 1995, and officially published at the beginning of 1996.
*Back from Marseille, where he took part in the conference for water management in the Mediterranean countries, the Minister of Public works Ali-Hrajli declared the objective of the conference was to cooperate to reach the best management of water Resources.
Within the quarters of the Lebanese football cup, two games were held as the following:
1-Al-Ansar v/s Attadamoun-Tyre (3-2) (at Bourj Hammoud local stadium)
2-Annejmeh v/s Al-Ahd (2-1) (at Saida local stadium)
Thus Al-ansar an Annejmeh were qualified to the semi-finals.
Lebanon Football Series
The 12th period of the Lebanese football tournament will start today, at 14:15, with two games:
1-Assalam-Zgharta v/s Achabiba-Mazraa (at Tripoli local stadium)
2-Al-Hekmeh v/s Al-Aka-Aley. (at Saida local stadium)
After participating in Cyprus international championship, organized in Larnaca, and including Bulgaria, Greece, Jordan, Cyprus and Lebanon, the Lebanese Judo delegation came back yesterday with 3 silver medals and 2 bronze ones.
The Lebanese Judo federation, on the other hand, organizes, next Saturday, on November 30th, the Arab countries Judo championship for youth, at the stadiums of Buda Club.
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