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Filipino Workers Face Eviction From Lebanon Town
Controversy is brewing in a mainly Armenian suburb of Beirut over a decision by local officials to expel foreign workers, with some linking the move to the revolt in Syria and others to sheer racism.
The controversy erupted early this month when the municipality of Burj Hammud, located east of the Lebanese capital, told all foreigners without rental leases to leave the area by the end of November.
Targeted by the measure were Syrian Kurds as well as other laborers from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and African countries, who for years have been drawn to the affordable housing in Burj Hammud. The majority have no signed rental agreements, a common practice in Lebanon.
Town officials say the decision came after local residents began to complain of increased petty crime and harassment of young women in the streets, pinning the blame on the foreigners.
But Syrian Kurds say the measure was a bid by the Armenian Tashnag party, a member of Lebanon’s pro-Syrian alliance led by the powerful Hezbollah, to punish them for taking part in anti-Syrian rallies.
Several Syrian Kurds interviewed by AFP in Burj Hammud said they believed the Tashnag was using its influence to squeeze them out after they protested outside the Syrian embassy over the murder of Kurdish activist Meshaal Tammo in Syria in October.
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