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.”


Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

Updated 15 September 2019

Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

ALGIERS: Algeria — whose president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April following mass protests — is to hold a presidential election on December 12, his interim successor announced Sunday.

"I have decided... that the date of the presidential election will be Thursday, December 12," said Abdelkader Bensalah, who is precluded from standing himself, in a televised address.

The announcement comes after army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, seen as the strongman in Algeria since the fall of Bouteflika, insisted that polls be held by the end of this year, despite ongoing protests demanding the creation of new institutions ahead of any elections.