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Hezbollah protests Twitter decision to suspend its TV channel’s accounts

Al-Manar is Hezbollah’s television channel and has several associated Twitter accounts [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 November, 2019

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The Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah has protested a decision by Twitter to suspend most of the Twitter accounts affiliated with its TV channel Al-Manar.

The television station of Lebanon's powerful Shia movement Hezbollah protested on Saturday that most of its Twitter accounts had been suspended.

Al-Manar accused the US-based social media platform of giving in to "political pressures".

"Account suspended," one such Arabic-language account, @almanarnews, read late Saturday.

"There is no place on Twitter for illegal terrorist organisations and violent extremist groups," a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The accounts in English, French and Spanish were also not available, but the Twitter handles of Al-Manar’s Breaking News page and specific television shows seemed to be functioning.

The Twitter account of the Palestinian Al-Quds News Network was also suspended, despite being verified by the social media network.

Read more: Hezbollah endorses the counter-revolution of the corrupt

Iran-backed Hezbollah is designated a "terrorist" group by the United States and several of its officials are under US sanctions, but it is also a key political player in Lebanon.

The group held three ministerial posts and a majority with its Christian allies before Lebanon's cabinet fell this week after 13 days of mass anti-graft protests.

Hezbollah has set itself in opposition to the protests and their demands for a change in government and its supporters have attacked protesters in the streets and squares of Beirut. Al-Manar has been criticized for calling protesters “bandits” and those attacking them “local citizens”.

Hezbollah is the only group not to have disarmed after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, and it fought Israeli troops who occupied southern Lebanon until 2000.

It has also been a key ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the neighbouring country's eight-year conflict, sending fighters to prop up his regime.

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