Lebanese army separates rival protests near president palace

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Protesters chant slogans and strike a drum during an anti-government demonstration in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on December 1, 2019. (AFP)
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A protester holds up a sign during an anti-government demonstration in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on December 1, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Lebanese army separates rival protests near president palace

  • Anti-government protesters had called for a rally outside the Presidential Palace to press Aoun to formally begin the process of forming a new govt

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s armed forces have deployed near the presidential palace east of Beirut to prevent friction between rival Lebanese protesters as the stalemate over forming a crisis government continues. 
Anti-government protesters had called for a rally Sunday outside the Presidential Palace in Baabda to press President Michel Aoun to formally begin the process of forming a new government. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned over a month ago amid nationwide protests accusing the political elite of corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
The call prompted a counter-rally by supporters of Aoun who called him a “red line.” Army soldiers formed a human chain to separate the groups on a highway leading to the palace, preventing clashes.
Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward central Beirut amid a deepening economic crisis.


Anger at Erdogan’s ‘sea grab’ in the Mediterranean

Updated 06 December 2019

Anger at Erdogan’s ‘sea grab’ in the Mediterranean

  • Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday to safeguard its offshore mineral rights

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced growing anger on Thursday over Turkey’s “sea grab” in the Mediterranean.

Ankara signed a maritime border agreement last month with the Libyan government in Tripoli that gives Turkey control over a vast area of sea stretching from its southern coast to North Africa. The Turkish Parliament approved the deal last night.

The agreement gives Turkey lucrative rights to drill for oil and gas in areas that include the island of Crete’s territorial waters. Ankara says such islands are not entitled to territorial waters.

The deal has infuriated Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, who dismissed it as “illegal.” Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Thursday to safeguard its offshore mineral rights. The ICJ has the power to issue binding decisions on countries that recognize its jurisdiction.

President Nicos Anastasiades said the island was committed to protecting its sovereign rights with every legal means possible. “Our recourse to The Hague has that very purpose,” he said.

The maritime border deal was also condemned by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the rival Libyan National Army in the eastern city of Benghazi. Haftar said the government in Tripoli had no authority to sign such an agreement, which was therefore void.