Lebanon 'kick queen' protest icon to face military trial

Lebanon 'kick queen' protest icon to face military trial

2 min read
20 February, 2020
Malak Alawiye became an icon of Lebanon's anti-sectarian protest movement after she kicked a gun-toting bodyguard.
Rights organisations have condemned Lebanon's use of military courts to try civilians [Twitter]
A woman whose kick to the groin of a Lebanese ministerial bodyguard made her an instant protest icon was summoned to court on Wednesday and will face a military trial in November.

On October 17 last year, the day unprecedented cross-sectarian protests demanding a radical overhaul of the political system erupted across the country, she kicked the gun-wielding bodyguard whose minister was being confronted by demonstrators.

The moment she delivered her side kick was caught on video, fast becoming a viral meme and a symbol of the kind of message protesters wanted to send their rulers.

Malak Alawiye, against whom charges were brought last year over the kick, was summoned to a military court on Wednesday, a judicial source told AFP.

She will face trial in November for bodily harm and insulting the security forces.

Read more: Lebanese leaders hoped protesters would go home. They won't, and here's why

The protest movement was ignited in October by a tax on voice calls made with WhatsApp and other messaging apps.

It has since grown into the biggest challenge yet to the patriarchal, sectarian and nepotistic political system that has governed the country for decades.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch criticised Lebanon for resorting to military courts to try several other civilians involved in the protest movement.

"Military courts have no business trying civilians," the watchdog said in a statement.

"Lebanon's parliament should end this troubling practice by passing a law to remove civilians from the military court's jurisdiction entirely."

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