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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat

Security Tensions Spike in Lebanon as Elections Draw Near

Head of the FPM, MP Gebran Bassil. (Reuters file photo)

Security tensions are mounting in Lebanon as the parliamentary elections, set for May 15, draw near.

More security incidents are being reported as the date approaches.

The latest took place on Saturday against a convoy of head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil as he was paying an electoral visit to the northern region of Akkar.

Opponents of the FPM blocked roads in protest against the visit and burned posters of Bassil and the FPM.

The army deployed heavily in the region to prevent an escalation in tensions.

In the Akkar town of Rahbe, a scuffle broke out between FPM supporters and a number of protesters, leading to injuries from both sides, including an FPM official.

Bassil called on the security forces to protect electoral candidates.

"We are taking part in the elections throughout Lebanon. The government and security forces are responsible for securing the safety of the people," he stated.

"Today we are in Akkar, tomorrow we will be in Aley, Chouf and Jezzine. After tomorrow, we will be in the Bekaa and later in Beirut," he added.

"We must either be able to move with all citizens or the authorities will be viewed as incapable of holding the elections," he remarked, warning that the FPM may then be forced to suspend its participation in the polls.

Meanwhile, former MP Fares Soaid complained on Sunday of an unidentified drone being flown over his residence in the Jbeil region.

Last week, supporters of parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal Movement assaulted supporters who were headed to an electoral rally organized by opposition candidates in the Sarafand region.

Shiite candidates, who are opposed to Amal and Hezbollah, are also being pressured to withdraw their nominations. Three have so far pulled out of the race.

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