Since assuming his position, new Lebanese Minister of Interior, retired Brigadier General Mohammad Fahmi, started developing new strategies, specifically against those whom he describes as “non-peaceful demonstrators.”
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Fahmi said that contrary to all claims, he is not affiliated to a certain political party or group.
“I am the son of the military establishment. I was at one distance from everyone, and I will remain in the Ministry of Interior at the same distance from all,” he emphasized, revealing he was nominated to his post by Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Fahmi noted that he enjoys “excellent relations” with all Lebanese political factions, saying: “I am the minister of the interior of the whole of Lebanon, not a specific group or party.”
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that he had put in place “a new strategy for dealing with non-peaceful demonstrators, not the peaceful ones to whom I belong,” underlining the people’s right to express their demands in peaceful rallies.
“I do not think that blocking roads and preventing citizens from leading their daily lives is a legitimate right,” he remarked.
Fahmi responded to claims circulated by some activists about more militancy in dealing with the protests, pointing out that his aim was not to quell the demonstrations, but rather to protect citizens and peaceful protesters and prevent riots.
“The cement walls are one of the methods used in riot prevention operations adopted in all countries of the world, to separate the demonstrators from the security forces and to prevent casualties on both sides,” he noted.
The minister also called on the Lebanese to give the new government the opportunity to prove itself and to work to overcome the current crisis.
“This must be accompanied by full political backing from all Lebanese parties and external support in order to meet the demands of the people,” he stated.