Lebanon president calls on protesters to go home

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun speaking during a televised interview at the presidential palace in Baabda. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2019

Lebanon president calls on protesters to go home

Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on protesters to go home, saying their demands had been heard, and warned of a "catastrophe" if they stay in the streets.

In a televised interview, Aoun also urged the Lebanese not to rush to the banks to withdraw their money, which he said was safe.

Aoun also said he supports the formation of a government made up from both politicians and technocrat.

The interview was the latest attempt by the president to address the protesters who took to the streets last month. The demonstrations were initially against tax increases but soon turned on the countries leaders, who they accuse iof corruption, and the sectarian political system.

They forced the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and have led the country into its worst economic crisis since the civil war.

"If you continue in this way, you will strike Lebanon and your interests ... I am placing you in front of this choice," Aoun said. "We are working day and night to get the situation in order. If they keep going, there is a catastrophe. If they stop, there is still room for (us) to fix things."

The UN has4 urged Lebanon to form a competent new government better able to seek international aid.
Indicating no breakthrough in talks over the next government, Aoun said he was still waiting for answers before calling formal consultations with MPs to designate the next prime minister.
"A technocrat government cannot define the policy of the country...and I back forming a government that is half political and half technocrat," Aoun said. "I met Hariri and I found him hesitant between yes and no." 

With Reuters

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Updated 11 min 19 sec ago

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