Lebanese protest outside Canadian embassy after false reports of emigration opportunities

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Dozens of Lebanese men and their children protest outside the Canadian embassy on Aug. 30, 2019. (Supplied)
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Dozens of Lebanese men and their children protest outside the Canadian embassy on Aug. 30, 2019. (Supplied)
Updated 31 August 2019

Lebanese protest outside Canadian embassy after false reports of emigration opportunities

  • Demonstrators misled into believing free immigration being offered
  • Former Lebanese Minister Ashraf Rifi told Arab News that “what drove young men to protest in front of the embassy was the lack of job opportunities”

BEIRUT: Dozens of Lebanese men and their children protested outside the Canadian embassy on Friday morning after fraudulent websites convinced them that the country is offering free immigration.
Most of the men were unemployed and from Tripoli.
Ziad Bouz said: “I went along with my children — Najeeb, 6, and my young one who is 10-months-old — I pray they accept my application for my kids to have a future.”
Some young men climbed the external fence after the embassy square flooded with dozens of people. Internal Security Forces (ISF) officers were caught off guard by the protesters.
A representative from the embassy said: “Canada respects freedom of expression and assembly.” She told the protesters that the embassy “does not accept direct immigration applications. They can log into the website for information on immigration and protecting people from fraud and falsification.”
She added that “the embassy did not ask anyone to transfer money via private funds.” She also thanked the “ISF and protesters for maintaining a peaceful protest.”
Former Lebanese Minister Ashraf Rifi told Arab News that “what drove young men to protest in front of the embassy was the lack of job opportunities and the unbearable situation.”
He hoped that “the economic meeting chaired by President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace next Monday leads to the advancement of the country, not its decline.”
Former MP Mustafa Alloush told Arab News that “the protest is about the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon.”
A large proportion of those gathered at the embassy hold university degrees.
Rani Mawwas from Tripoli said: “Is this the future of my countrymen and of young men holding university degrees? In less than 24 hours of publishing that the Canadian Embassy is accepting immigration applications, hundreds have gathered. They did not care about the weather or the time they will spend waiting for their turn, and they came from all over the country.”
The World Bank warned earlier this year of “increasing unemployment rates in Lebanon, which, according to some studies, have reached 40 percent, especially among young people.”
A Labor Ministry adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the poverty rate in Tripoli had made it the poorest city on the Mediterranean coast.
The adviser added that “since the Labor Ministry started combating foreign labor a month and a half ago, 3,000 job opportunities have been created for Lebanese. Companies which relied on Syrian workers and other nationalities turned to Lebanese labor and even university students. The ministry does not give work permits to a foreigner if the work can be done by a Lebanese.”
There were many tweets about the scene in front of the embassy.
Iman Tatari wrote: “I am for immigration because there are no jobs in Lebanon. Lebanese are seeking to immigrate and the state is watching.”
Zouhair tweeted: “The immigration doors should be open in Lebanon because more than half of the people are oppressed.”


Dubai screens passengers from China amid virus outbreak

Updated 12 min 8 sec ago

Dubai screens passengers from China amid virus outbreak

  • The UAE said it was free of the coronavirus
  • China is the UAE’s top trading partner

DUBAI: Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s biggest aviation hubs, said Thursday it would carry out thermal screening of all passengers arriving from China amid an outbreak of a deadly virus.
The move goes further than other major transport hubs in Europe and the United States, which have limited their screening to passengers coming from Wuhan, the city at the center of the scare.
“Dubai Airports confirms... that all passengers arriving on direct flights from the People’s Republic of China must receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival,” a statement said.
China has locked down two major cities including Wuhan to fight the coronavirus that has already claimed 17 lives and spread to a number of other countries.
Dubai’s government said on Thursday that some 989,000 Chinese tourists visited the glitzy emirate last year and that the number was expected to cross the one-million mark in 2020. Some 3.6 million Chinese transited through the airport in 2019.
“The screening will be conducted on secured, closed gates at the airport by Dubai Health Authority and its Airport Medical Center team,” the statement said.
The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract.
Dubai International Airport in 2018 served 89.15 million passengers, retaining its world-number-one spot of welcoming the largest number of foreign passengers for the fifth year in a row.
There was no announcement as yet from authorities in the neighboring emirate of Abu Dhabi which also has a large airport.
Dozens of flights operate weekly between Chinese cities and Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
China is the UAE’s top trading partner and Abu Dhabi is among the 15 top crude suppliers to Beijing. Several hundred Chinese companies have offices in the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates’ health ministry said Wednesday that the Gulf state with a population of 10 million — about 90 percent of them foreigners — was free of the coronavirus, and that it had taken sufficient measures to face the disease.
“The health situation poses no grounds for concern and the ministry is closely following up on the situation to ensure the health and safety of everyone,” it said.