‘Solution’ for Lebanon near as protests continues

‘Solution’ for Lebanon near as protests continues
A Lebanese demonstrator holds up an old identity card during a march entitled "My Nationality, My Dignity" in the center of the capital Beirut on Nov. 10, 2019, calling for giving Lebanese women the right to transmit the nationality to their children. (AFP / ANWAR AMRO)
Updated 11 November 2019

‘Solution’ for Lebanon near as protests continues

‘Solution’ for Lebanon near as protests continues
  • Salaries dip 25% as lira falls against dollar
  • Protests enter their 25th successive day

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Saad Hariri, is set to announce on Monday “positive signs of a solution to the issue of government formation in Lebanon, unless sudden developments occur.” 

That is according to Mustafa Alloush, a member of the political bureau of the Future Movement, whose comments came after Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) MP Ibrahim Kanaan suggested FPM was convinced of the formation of “a government of technocrats.”

Ali Bazzi, of the Liberation and Development Bloc headed by Speaker Nabih Berri, stressed: “The coming hours will be critical in breaking the state of political stagnation, and the Amal Movement is helping to overcome obstacles and is open to facilitating the formation of a government that serves this country.”

These latest developments come as protests in Lebanon enter their 25th day — protests that have already forced Hariri’s government to step down.

FASTFACTS

  • Activists in the civil movement have stepped up their social media campaigns to call for people to join a sit-in.
  • Public affairs expert Walid Fakhreddine said that some parties were trying to hold the protesters responsible for the deterioration of the currency exchange rate.

Activists in the civil movement have stepped up their social media campaigns to call for people to join a sit-in on Sunday. With the value of the US dollar reaching 2,000 Lebanese lira on the black market, salaries have fallen by 25 percent, and purchase value has fallen by 35-40 percent, which has fueled discontent.Public affairs expert Walid Fakhreddine told Arab News that some parties were trying to hold the protesters responsible for the deterioration of the exchange rate. “This is not a new attack technique; it is globally deployed where there are revolutions, but it is ineffective,” he added.

“There are discussions and dialogues between activists in the squares every evening, and some people tried to disrupt one of the discussions in which (the actor) Ziad Itani and I were involved,” he continued.

“Someone tried to stop Ziad Itani from speaking. One of them attacked me and hit me on my head. Then the same person tried to break the microphone Ziad was using. The third time, they attacked us and began to beat us. The security forces intervened and took the attackers aside. Phone calls took place and the aggressors were allowed to go free.

“What happened is not the first of its kind, as incidents of disruption, repression and assault on protesters are frequent in Beirut, Nabatieh and Tire.

“Everyone in this corrupt government participates in these operations because they are annoyed by the people, so they are trying to thwart their movement. They do not know that the Lebanese people are devising many methods to continue the movement, which has reached the stage of no turning back.”

Fakhreddine revealed that bank employees had joined the movement in the street and complained that the government had left them to face the dollar crisis alone.

He referred to a draft prepared by MPs on the amnesty days ago to be approved next Tuesday. He said: “It is a booby-trapped draft because it prevents trials for all cases involving administrative and financial corruption.”

Itani said the attack against him was against the backdrop of a lawsuit he has filed in court against those involved in his arrest for allegations of communicating with Israel, of which he was found innocent.

“When someone came to me in the square, he told me that it is enough that you went to Tripoli, and it seems that my words bothered them. I said that sedition and sectarianism are forbidden, and that this is the revolution of the poor. I was threatened, and the threat was acted upon in Beirut,” he told Arab News.

“They want to silence me, but I will continue to prosecute those who did me an injustice.”

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch called on the Lebanese authorities to take all possible measures to protect peaceful demonstrators and refrain from using force to disperse peaceful gatherings.