Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that his party does not support the resignation of Lebanon’s government.
Nasrallah defended the era of President Michel Aoun, adding that a technocrat government “will not last for even two weeks.”
His comments during a televised speech were strongly rejected by protesters who called for politicians to step down over a deepening economic crisis.
Nasrallah said that he was watching the demonstrations on television and he heard people cursing him.
The protesters, who took to the streets in Beirut, southern Lebanon and the Bekaa, included Hezbollah in their accusations against officials. They blame Hezbollah for the economic downturn and silence during years of corruption.
“I was a supporter of Hezbollah and I left the party and I came here to express my stand. I cannot bear to see the slogan of Hezbollah. This party has promised to fight corruption and failed to do so, so they need to resign and leave politics and stick to the resistance,” said a protester from Beirut’s southern suburbs.
Another protester from Tripoli said: “I have no confidence in anyone, not even Nasrallah. His place is to fight Israel and not to interfere in people’s affairs.”
Nasrallah’s speech also drew criticism on social media.
Did Nasrallah ask himself about the role of his party’s military adventures in the deterioration of the economic situation?
Dr. Mustafa Alloush, Ex-Lebanese MP
Former MP Boutros Harb tweeted: “It has become clear that there is a huge gap between the people in power and the citizens. Their aim is to stay in their positions and follow their corruption and accumulate their wealth, indifferent to the conditions of people, even if they are hungry and poor. The insolence is that some of them are threatening protesters requesting the government’s resignation that this will lead to chaos. They ignore that their presence is the cause of the scourge.”
Former MP Dr. Mustafa Alloush said: “Did Nasrallah ask himself about the role of his party’s military adventures in the deterioration of the economic situation? Is he willing to take responsibility for repairing what he has ruined?”
“Nasrallah plays the role of UN envoy to the corrupt government. It would have been better to stand by the people,” Rabih Damaj said. “A distorted speech that does not represent the street pulse. You have disappointed some of your supporters, especially the sons of the south and the Bekaa who are currently standing in the face of the gunmen.”
Elie Rashkidi said: “I am not sure where you are getting your news from. But saying that a nonsectarian government will not last two weeks is proof of how much you are uneducated, a sign of how brainwashed you people are, and a proof of how bad the government’s performance is.”
“The Lebanese revolution –x20 said: “Stop brainwashing people, you are the reason for all our problems. With a united Lebanon, we do not need you or Iran to protect any Lebanese or Shiite. Your cause is expired.”
“Nasrallah joins Gibran Bassil and Saad Hariri’s failed attempts to absorb the anger of the street and mock those who demand a technocratic government, claiming that it will not last more than a few days. The solution, according to him, is to give a second chance to this old system, that every day comes up with new methods to steal the country,” said Hadi Machmouchi. He added: “No, sir, we no longer have confidence in all of you, without exception.”
“Raising your voice does not scare us and sabotaging our peaceful demonstrations will not stop us. We will not budge,” said Viviane Zakkour.
Nicole Hajjal said: “Nasrallah’s speech reflects the political class’s confusion in the face of the wrath of the street. This is reflected in the speeches of Nasrallah, Bassil and Hariri.”
“The Lebanese people took to the streets spontaneously. No one can impose on us a presidential term,” said Mohammed Al-Qari.
In his speech, Nasrallah tried to speak on behalf of the protesters: “Officials should realize that people, especially the poor and low-income people, are unable to tolerate new taxes. The demonstrations relayed a message to officials that they will not tolerate that anymore.”
He said: “Lebanon is not a bankrupt country, but we need a good administration. We need to support the current government with a new agenda and a new spirit.” Nasrallah stressed that “in order to save the country, everyone has to make sacrifices.”
He also told demonstrators calling for the end of the presidential term of President Michel Aoun: “You are wasting your time if you think you can topple the presidential term. We must act responsibly until we pass this difficult phase and we will not allow this country to be destroyed or doomed.”