AMAL Supporters Try to Storm al-Jadeed Building in Protest at TV Show
Written by Malek


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Demonstrators attacked the headquarters of a Lebanese television channel in Beirut on Tuesday night, protesting against a broadcast they said was insulting to Lebanese Shi'ite cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr. Around 300 people, some carrying flags of Lebanon's Shi'ite Amal Movement, tried to storm the headquarters of Lebanese channel al-Jadeed, throwing fireworks, stones and eggs at the building. Scores of police and troops rushed to the area. One policeman was injured and the army later broke up the protest. Sadr, the founder of the Amal Movement, disappeared after traveling to Libya in 1978 and is presumed dead. Lebanese media said the Tuesday demonstration had been in reaction to a broadcast comedy sketch that referred to the disappearance. Protesters broke windows, shouted insults at the channel's owner, and chanted "Here we are Nabih", referring to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, head of the Amal Movement.

By Naharnet - Al-Jadeed deputy chairwoman Karma Khayyat had urged the army to “intervene to put an end to the behavior of (Speaker Nabih) Berri's supporters outside al-Jadeed's building,” calling the protesters' actions “an insult to Imam Moussa al-Sadr.” An army force eventually arrived outside the building to reinforce security lines. Army forces also deployed along the Salim Salam bridge and on the highway near the Sports City, state-run National News Agency reported. “Those attacking al-Jadeed's building did not watch the episode that they are protesting against and al-Jadeed does not accept any insult against Sayyed Moussa al-Sadr,” Khayyat stressed. “We are being threatened with bullets and the cutting off of broadcast, but this will not deter us from saying the truth,” Khayyat added.

The episode featured three puppets impersonating Berri, slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. According to An Nahar newspaper, the episode “hinted that Berri knows the location in which al-Sadr vanished.” The TV show is directed by controversial director Charbel Khalil. AMAL MP Hani Qobeissi had on Monday accused al-Jadeed of “insulting” al-Sadr whom he described as “the first defender of Lebanon.” “The language of mockery and disrespect showed that your $70 million contract with some remnants of the Libyan regime to print their books is more important to you than all the causes of the country and its people,” Qobeissi said in a statement. “AMAL Movement with its martyrs, wounded, cadres and leader will not confront you, because you are too little for that,” the MP added.