A Hezbollah member reacts while Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah talks on a screen during a televised speech at a festival celebrating Resistance and Liberation Day in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon.
(photo credit: ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS)
Lebanese candidate Ali Al-Amine was allegedly beaten by “Hezbollah thugs” in his hometown after putting up election posters, campaigning for a Shi’ite seat in parliament.
Journalist Luna Safwan tweeted that Amine, who is from the south Lebanon village of Chaqra, was running against Hezbollah. Chaqra is a town north of Bint Jbeil and a few kilometers east of the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.
“He was beaten up by some Hezbollah thugs for hanging his own picture on a wall,” she wrote.
Amine has been a vocal critic of Hezbollah for years. In 2014 his house was attacked by Hezbollah supporters.
Antoine Haddad, a politician with the Democratic Renewal Movement and an ally of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, posted about the attack on Facebook, calling it “brutal” and saying “democracy cannot coexist with armed groups.”
The parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on May 6.
The attack has caused outrage in Lebanon. Local journalist Diana Moukalled tweeted solidarity for Amine against the “barbarism of Hezbollah.” Abbas Hodroj, a student, posted a photo of Amine in the hospital and alleged that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had a role in the attack.
Larissa Aoun of Sky News Arabia also condemned the attack as an example of “pressure, harassment and violations against opposition candidates.”
According to the local Arabic website Janoubia, at least 40 men attacked Amine and he was transferred to Tebnine Hospital.
He had recently written an article for Janoubia about the elections, arguing that under the guise of “resistance” Hezbollah had sought to monopolize politics in southern Lebanon. “The main purpose of these slogans [by Hezbollah] is to prevent diversity in the south,” he wrote.
Amine also argued that it was important for different candidates to put themselves forward against Hezbollah for this reason.
Lebanese politics is divided along sectarian lines and seats are reserved for candidates based on religion.
Therefore, Shi’ite seats in the south are competed for by different political lists, one candidate of which is put forward by Hezbollah. The fact that Hezbollah remains an armed group in Lebanon has allowed it to intimidate other candidates.
Amine has also been critical of propaganda against Israel. Last year, he mocked Hezbollah’s boasting of resistance against the Jewish state by noting that on the other side of the border, in Israel, the streets are clean and there are road signs and electricity that works.
“These are, in effect, the terrible enemy’s means of defense and power. When will we learn to wield such instruments of power?” he wrote.
Amine is running on a list called “Fed Up with Talk,” or Shbeana Haki