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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Sep 20th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Extremism In Lebanon arrow Pro-Hariri Demos Spread across Lebanon, Kabbara Calls for 'Day of Anger'
Pro-Hariri Demos Spread across Lebanon, Kabbara Calls for 'Day of Anger' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naharnet   
Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Protests erupted across Lebanon on Monday as outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Mustaqbal Movement accused Hizbullah of staging a coup by imposing its candidate to head a new government.

Demonstrations were reported in various regions with a significant Sunni population where protesters burned tires and blocked major roads as they vented their anger at the likely nomination of billionaire businessman Najib Miqati to replace Hariri.

"Sunni blood is boiling!" and "Hizbullah, party of the devil!" chanted demonstrators in the northern port city of Tripoli, Miqati's home town and Lebanon's main Sunni bastion.

Former MP Mustafa Alloush, of Hariri's Mustaqbal Movement, blasted the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizbullah for staging a "coup" which he said was aimed at imposing an Iranian form of religious government in Lebanon.

"Following the coup aimed at allowing Hizbullah to impose its rule in Lebanon ... we call on the Lebanese to express their anger and their refusal to fall under Iranian control through peaceful protests," Alloush said.

He blasted Hizbullah for seeking to "instate 'Velayat-e Faqih'," referring to Shiite Iran's form of Islamic rule.

Tripoli MP Mohammed Kabbara also called for a "day of anger" on Tuesday.

"This aggression against the Sunni confession and the nation is unacceptable," Kabbara said.

A security official told Agence France Presse that hundreds of demonstrators had cut off major roads leading in and out of the capital in the early evening.

Some demonstrators were seen overturning dumpsters and burning tires as the army and police boosted their presence across the country.

Roads were also cut off in the eastern Bekaa region, near the southern coastal city of Sidon and in several other towns in northern Lebanon.

In central Beirut, some 200 people gathered in front of Hariri's residence to express their support.

Another group of demonstrators gathered in the downtown area carrying placards that read "No for Hizbullah rule" and "Pasdaran not welcome," referring to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The unrest came after Hizbullah and its allies put forward Miqati's name to head the new government during consultations with President Michel Suleiman earlier on Monday.

Suleiman is due to announce his choice for the top post on Tuesday after meeting with all of the groups in parliament.

Hizbullah on January 12 brought down Hariri's Saudi- and Western-backed government after a long-running dispute over a U.N.-backed tribunal probing the 2005 murder of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, Saad's father.

Hizbullah had been pressing Hariri to disavow the tribunal, which it believes will implicate Hizbullah members.

Miqati, who served briefly as premier in 2005, said that should he be appointed he would act as a consensual candidate representing all parties.

"I extend my hand to everyone," he told reporters after meeting Suleiman. "If I am appointed, my actions will speak for themselves."

After the protests broke out he also issued a statement urging calm.

"We call on our brothers in Tripoli and across the north to exercise wisdom and patience," said Miqati, who was elected to parliament in 2009 on Hariri's list.

The 55-year-old tycoon is a major shareholder in South Africa's telecom MTN Group, owns the French fashion line Faconnable and has major real estate investments.

Later Monday, the Army Command warned in a statement against messing with security and violating the rules of peaceful protest.

Forbes magazine in 2010 estimated his net worth at 2.5 billion dollars, making him one of Lebanon's richest men.

The appointment of a Hizbullah-backed premier has sparked fears within the international community, notably Israel, of Iran gaining further influence in Lebanon and has prompted comparisons with Gaza, ruled by the Islamist group Hamas.

But Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed such claims, saying that his coalition would seek to include Hariri's camp in the new government.

Hariri, however, has ruled out joining a government headed by a premier appointed by Hizbullah.(AFP)



Beirut, 24 Jan 11, 21:19

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