Activists: Lebanese officials try to shut gender conference

BEIRUT (AP) — A gender activist group says Lebanese authorities have tried to shut down a conference they are holding in Beirut after accusing the group of “promoting perversion and drug abuse.”

NEDWA, an annual gender rights regional conference, is organized by the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality in Lebanon. The conference gathers more than 100 activists from 12 Middle Eastern and North African countries.

The group said in a statement that Lebanese security officials and an Islamic group attempted to shut down the conference Tuesday at a Beirut hotel. It said AFE’s chief refused to sign a pledge to cancel the event and organizers moved the conference to another hotel.

Despite being one of the most open Arab countries, Lebanon has previously closed such conferences.

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