Organizers of the Byblos International Festival yielded to pressure from church officials, politicians and online groups who accused the locally grown and internationally acclaimed band Mashrou’ Leila of dishonouring Christian symbols and promoting homosexuality. Following several threats of violence, the organizers announced on 30 July that the show scheduled for 9 August would be cancelled to ‘prevent bloodshed and maintain security and stability’.
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The campaign against Mashrou’ Leila, has expectedly received much attention due to the band’s popularity in Lebanon, the region, and the world. It has also served the purpose of covering what little solidarity there was among the Lebanese population with the rightful protests by Palestinians in the country or diverting attention from the mistreatment and forceful return of Syrian refugees.