A police vice squad in Beirut has imposed a crackdown on a cinema believed to screen gay adult films, arresting 36 male attendees and performing anal probes on them.

Website NOW Lebanon reported last week the theatre, Plaza Cinema, was not the first venue that Lebanese authorities had shut down.

The latest incident followed a Lebanese talk show host launching a campaign on his show to ramp up persecution of Lebanon’s LGBT community.

Egyptian web news outlet Bikya Masr claimed Joe Maalouf singled out the cinema on his July 28 show, making explicit reference to it as a porn cinema in Beirut where “men have sexual encounters with other men”.

He claimed that the authorities were protecting ‘perverts’ and demanded authorities act.

Human rights lawyer Nizar Saghieh condemned the probes and called for the Ministry of Justice to end the practice.

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