Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has lamented that a “problem” happens whenever he wants to visit a certain region, warning that the FPM may boycott the May 15 parliamentary elections if authorities do not protect freedom of movement for him and the other FPM candidates.
Bassil voiced his remarks at an FPM rally in Akkar’s Rahbe, where he managed to arrive following hours of tensions, clashes and unrest over his visit.
“Is it acceptable during the period of election that a problem happen whenever we want to visit a region? This question is addressed to the government and its premier and ministers, topped by the interior and defense ministers,” Bassil said.
“Where are the equal opportunities in elections if we cannot visit a region in which the FPM and its allies can win three MPs?” he asked.
“Today we are in Akkar, tomorrow we will be in Aley, Chouf and Jezzine, and the day after tomorrow we will be in the Bekaa and Beirut. We either be capable of movement along with all citizens, or else authorities would be incapable of holding the elections, which would push us to suspend our participation” in the polls, Bassil warned.
He added: “We arrived here due to security escorting, but how could heroic and unarmed people arrive here if there are roadblocks and rocket attacks and if weapons are deployed on the roads? How can people come to take part in elections if we don’t provide them with security, especially after megacenters that would have allowed them to vote where they are were rejected?”
A clash broke out Saturday between protesters and FPM supporters at the Rahbe intersection, leaving the FPM’s official in the area, Tony Assi, wounded.
The army later clashed with protesters and managed to reopen the road to Rahbe, where Bassil delivered his speech.
The protests over the visit had started overnight and continued into Saturday. In addition to the clashes, the movements included the torching of Bassil posters and the blocking of several roads.