YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Armenian community of Lebanon went on symbolic strike on February 1 upon the initiative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Social-Democratic Hnchakian Party. All Armenian establishmen’s–shops–schools–markets–etc. stayed closed for 12 to 15 hours. A three-hour sit-of about 2,000 people was staged in Burj Hamud Square.
The community is demanding a second Armenian minister in the 30-member Lebanese government–in accordance with the Tayef agreement.
Earlier–the only Armenian cabinet member–Youth Affairs and Sport Minister Sebouh Hovnanian (ARF) refused to participate in cabinet meetings to show his protest. As a result–at the December meeting of the government–the Lebanese president stated that Armenia’s had the right to be represented by two ministers in the cabinet and the prime minister confirmed that proposal–thus fixing the right of the Armenian community to two seats.
Members of the Lebanese government Sebouh Hovnanian–George Frem–Jean-Louis Krtai–members of parliament–state and political figures–as well as representatives of Lebanon’s ruling "Amal" party met with participants in the sit-in to express their support to them. They conveyed Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s support to the Armenian community of Lebanon.
Protesters were joined by the President’s son–Emile Lahoud–who mother and grandmother are Armenian.