The cartoon mocks Saudi for its high number of executions [Twitter]
A cartoon depicting a man being beheaded in Saudi Arabia was hung on a pedestrian bridge north of Beirut on Sunday, in response to a recent cartoon mocking Lebanon in a Saudi-owned newspaper.
“The deadly [Kingdom] of Al Saud,” read the poster, in reference to Saudi Arabia’s royal family.
The poster’s green background is similar to that of the Saudi flag, with a blood-soaked sword held over the man’s head.
The Saudi law is based on a strict interpretation of the Islamic Sharia Law, and the country is known for executing those found guilty of certain crimes.
The move comes only one day after protesters attacked the Beirut office of the Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat, which had published an April fools’ “joke” about Lebanon in its Friday edition.
Images of the ransacked office showed chairs upturned and documents scattered across the floor and lobby area.
The newspaper’s website later published an article declaring the resumption of work at the office despite the attack, calling upon the Lebanese government to “take responsibility for the safety of all its employees”.
The newspaper also said it “rejects the clamour” about the cartoon, which it claimed was “misinterpreted by some people”.
However, the newspaper emphasised its “respect for Lebanon”, adding that the cartoon aimed to “shine the spotlight on the current Lebanese government”.
Friday’s edition of Asharq Al-Awsat, which included a cartoon showing the Lebanese flag with the text “April fools… The Lebanese state“, drew criticism and angry reactions from many people in the country.
Tensions between Riyadh and Beirut have recently been running high over the influence of the Iranian-backed Hizballah movement in Lebanon and Syria.
On the same day as the Asharq Al-Awsat caricature was published, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya shut its Beirut office.
Lebanon’s Information Minister later stated that there may have been “political reasons” behind the news channel’s decision.