Sunday, June 7, 2009

Election Day - upto 5:12pm Beirut Time

6am

The day began at 6am when I set off to Zahle. Going through Sassine in Beirut a heavy military presence was evident. There was a smooth flow of traffic on the way and on arriving at Zahle a military presence was notable at the entrance to the town but not heavily throughout the centre.

7:30am

In Zahle voters were beginning to trickle through to the polling stations. Support for the two political factions March 8 + FPM and March 14 was highly visible, with supporters handing out their pre-printed ballots to supporters. The town was calm and apart from the chaotic parking and traffic all appeared to be running smoothly. Supporters from both coalitions were both happy however, this was first thing in the morning! Taxis were a noticeable addition to the scenery in Zahle I saw a several Hello Taxis transporting to the party headquarters of Skaff voters who I assume have been brought from abroad to vote.

10:30 am

Made way back to Beirut, again traffic was running smoothly and apart from supporters doing the usual contest with flags and political hand signals (maybe a will provide a guide to these one day!) all was calm.

11:30 am

Went over to the Dahiya to see what is happening in this part of town. All is calm and well organized. On the way going through the old airport road was nice to see Amal and Future supporters mingling (more or less).

12:30pm

Went to Beirut One, Sodeco, and saw that at lot of movement was occurring at Beydoun street. There I witnessed lots of army trying to control a situation between Nadim Gemayel supporters and FPM. Nadim Gemayel's sister (who I do not know the name of so someone please inform me if you know) trying to assist her brother's supporters but was being kept away. Then a man was forcefully removed, without too much resistance, by two army personnel that was cheered by FPM supporters. Another man was also arrested but was unable to see clearly what went on. The army quickly maintained calm and even allowed voters to continue voting while trying to establish full security.

Away from my personal experience

Interior Minister Baroud announced that by 3pm voter turnout was at 40% compared to 2005 where voter turnout was 45% in total and confirmed that significant security incidents have not occurred and traffic did not prove to be an issue.

At 5:12pm so far so good.

1 comment:

  1. I heard that you were on your balcony all day.

    ReplyDelete

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