Lebanon’s new Interior Minister Raya El Hassan Wednesday vowed to oversee strict implementation of laws related to domestic violence, traffic, celebratory gunfire and the environment during her tenure.
The country’s first female interior minister was speaking during a televised news conference to mark the official transfer of the portfolio.
Hassan said she would carry on with projects that were launched by her predecessor, Nouhad Machnouk, and unveil projects of her own.
She pledged to focus on enabling cooperation between Lebanon’s security agencies and ensure stability and security in the country.
But Hassan stressed that “implementing security measures should not interfere with people’s freedoms and the freedom of expression, as these are [a priority] above everything.”
She said she wanted to increase the enforcement of traffic laws and enact new measures to reduce the number of car accidents and traffic jams.
Among these measures, she said, would be to take down all security barriers that impede traffic.
Machnouk took the podium at the news conference prior to Hassan, when he addressed the controversy over whether he or Hassan had ordered the removal of concrete security barriers in front of the Interior Ministry.
He said he had “followed the instructions” of his successor when he ordered for their removal.
Local media had initially reported Tuesday that Hassan ordered for the blocks to be removed, but Machnouk’s office released a statement shortly after taking credit for the move, due to the “eradication of security threats related to previous terrorism files he oversaw over five years ago.”
A source close to Hassan then told The Daily Star that she had intended to announce the decision to remove the blocks upon the official transfer of power Wednesday, but Machnouk made the decision himself, and it was implemented Tuesday.
The barriers, which were erected back in 2016 after a series of security incidents across the country, caused pandemonium on the street for drivers leaving the Hamra area and going toward Downtown.