A group named “Comrades of Georges Abdallah” took to the streets of Beirut on Thursday night to graffiti over French street names and replace them with “Georges Abdallah Street.”
Signs indicating Clemenceau and Charles de Gaulle streets were painted over in black with new inscriptions painted next to them, in the latest action by Abdallah supporters to protest the Lebanese leftist’s decade-long imprisonment in France.
Abdallah’s defenders staged a two-week sit-in near the French embassy in January, after France postponed his release and expulsion to Lebanon at the last minute. The sit-in was disbanded and tents put down Wednesday, but the activists vowed to continue fighting for Abdallah.
“We won’t stop until he is released,” one activist behind the graffiti told Al-Akhbar. “The protests will continue in front of the embassy and throughout Lebanon.”
“The street name changes are not the only thing we will be doing,” another Abdallah supporter said. “We will boycott all things French, and this is only the first step after the sit-in.”
He added that their graffiti were a message not only to France, but to the Lebanese government as well, to “stop behaving as if the French mandate was still there.”
A pro-Abdallah Facebook group called for the boycott of Total, a major French oil and gas group.
Meanwhile, the International Campaign for the Release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah met with MP Michel Aoun on Friday to discuss the latest developments in Abdallah’s case.
“Aoun … voiced disturbance and regret because France, as a democratic state, has become a country where justice can be shackled down to the administration’s decisions,” Abdallah’s brother Joseph told NNA after the meeting.
“We thanked him for this meeting and we put the case in his hands so that Georges returns safe and sound to his homeland,” he added.