Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 January 2020

Beirut loses incongruous concrete barriers in a symbol of its stability

Concrete barriers were removed from a road around a United Nations building in downtown Beirut on Tuesday
epa07848690 A bobcat works to remove the cement barrier to re-open a part of the street in front of the United Nations Building (ESCWA) in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 17 September 2019. Roads around a United Nations Building (ESCWA) in Beirut were closed on 11 October 2011 as part of measures to protect the building following a series of attacks on the United Nations. EPA/WAEL HAMZEH

Concrete barriers were removed from a road around a United Nations building in downtown Beirut on Tuesday, freeing up traffic eight years after they were installed following a series of attacks.

The UN’s global security arrangements were reviewed in 2011 after a car-bomb attack against their headquarters in Nigeria and several attacks against UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities protested the installation of cement barriers near the United Nations building (ESCWA) at the time, arguing they would block traffic in a busy area of the capital that houses the offices of several other international organisations.

“The UN decided to remove the blocks after many requests from Lebanese officials at all levels and in co-ordination with the Lebanese government,” executive secretary of ESCWA Rola Dashti told The National in an email.

“The roads were blocked at a time when Lebanon was going through a critical security situation. Now the circumstances have changed and the situation is stable; we would like to tell the international community and foreign investors that Lebanon is stable and secure."

After her appointment late January, Lebanese Interior Minister Raya Hassan took the popular decision to start removing concrete blocks that had been installed in the past years all over the country for security reasons near government buildings, security agencies and political party headquarters.

Updated: September 18, 2019 06:11 PM