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Protests Return to Lebanon Day after Hariri’s Resignation

Protests Return to Lebanon Day after Hariri’s Resignation

Thursday, 31 October, 2019 - 07:00
Zouk highway blocked on Thursday morning (NNA)

Protests renewed in Lebanon on Wednesday evening despite the calm the country witnessed a day after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

A number of Lebanese protesters were seen demonstrating and blocking some roads across the country.

At the so-called Ring bridge in Beirut, protesters cut one way of the road and said they demand that political parties agree on a cabinet of technocrats able to implement economic reforms.

Other protesters blocked the highway linking Tripoli to the Lebanese capital in the north with metal barriers, saying that their protests should continue until all their demands are met.

Despite a decision by Caretaker Education Minister Akram Chehayeb that schools reopen on Thursday, Lebanon’s National News Agency said many schools in Beirut and areas surrounding it decided late Wednesday to remain closed the next day.

Separately, the Free Patriotic Movement, which is headed by caretaker Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, rejected that Hariri heads a nonpartisan government.

“The FPM supports applying the same norms when forming the next cabinet,” Antoine Constantine, a senior adviser to Bassil, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.

Therefore, he said, if a decision is taken to form a nonpartisan government, the same norms should be applied on the Prime Minister.

This means the FPM would not accept that Hariri heads a cabinet of technocrats.

The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) of Walid Jumblatt said it would support Hariri for being renamed prime minister if the circumstances allow.

PSP media officer Rami Rayyes told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was still very early to say whether the party would join the new government.

For its part, the Lebanese Forces said it does not object to Hariri being tasked in forming the new cabinet.

“Currently, Lebanon needs a technocrat government, free of any political representation, capable of salvaging the economic and financial situation and to secure local and foreign support,” LF resigned minister Richard Kouyumjian told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.

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