|One of many videos uploaded from the scene, contradicting MP Gemayel’s claim that he was “attacked” with rocks and sticks.|
UPDATE: Friends of activists say many have just been arrested following questioning. They are asking supporters to come down to Gemayze police station at 4PM today.
Just got off the phone with one of the young activists now giving testimony at the police station in Gemayze after last night’s armed assault on Nasawiya cafe by MP Nadim Gemayel bodyguards.
“They grabbed us and punched us,” the activist said, in a reference to 4-5 armed members of Gemayel’s convoy.
“I have a right to kill you,” one threatened, the activist said, adding that one of the bodyguards grabbed a broomstick and hit another activist.
It all began when a group of young people– many who had been protesting downtown that day– met at Nasawiya, a feminist collective, for a farewell party. The bodyguards reportedly parked illegally at the cafe entrance while Gemayel was eating at a nearby posh restaurant and asked them to stop taking pictures.
The crowd started chanting anti-government slogans and thats when the bodyguards apparently pulled their weapons, raised their voices and started assaulting people.
The source said some activists pushed back, struggling to protect each other from the blows until the police arrived and locked everyone inside. Some apparently had pounded on the hood of the MPs car.
Then about 20 minutes later, 4-5 new men showed up, middle-aged men “walked past the police and pulled us outside and hit us again.”
“I feel to the ground and they kept punching.”
“Ya manyak (You fucking punk)!” one of them shouted as he grabbed the activists.
A very similar account was confirmed by several eyewitnesses who published their stories on Facebook such as Krystel, Reine, Zeina, Maria and others (It was a largely female crowd as Nasawiya is a feminist collective), in addition to several videos and pictures that were posted by others.
“Even the army was attacked by the bodyguards,” said the activist.
These multiple accounts completely contradict Gemayel who appeared on MTV claiming the unarmed young people attacked his mulit-vehicle armored convoy and assault weapon-brandishing bodyguards with “rocks” and “sticks”
“They had machine guns,” said the activist at the police station. “How could we attack them? We were just trying to take cover.”
Yet MTV and now Nahrnet and Now Lebanon–all media outlets very friendly the MPs political party–have completely ignored the multiple accounts of activists, pictures and videos and published Gemayel’s words as fact without question, though he admitted he was not even at the scene.
But thanks to social media and telephone cameras, we have a different story.
More to come…