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Western Diplomats Show Interest in Lebanon Protests

Western Diplomats Show Interest in Lebanon Protests

Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 07:15
General Security forces remove tents from Sassine Square in Ashrafieh, and reopened the road to traffic. (NNA)

Western diplomats praised on Tuesday the recent decision of the popular protests in Lebanon to move from blocking roads across the country to organizing sit-ins in front of public and private companies accused of corruption.

On Tuesday, protesters opened roads they had blocked for the past two weeks and instead, decided to gather in front of the public and private establishments, including the Central Bank in Nabatiyeh and several bank branches, by preventing employees from entering the buildings.

They also plan to stage protests on Wednesday in front of the two mobile operators MTC Touch and Alfa, the TVA building in Beirut, the Beirut Justice Palace and the Central Bank in Hamra.

On Tuesday, a dispute erupted at the Water Authority of North Lebanon among the employees and demonstrators who demanded the closure of the department.

The diplomats said they already informed their governments that Lebanese authorities have used force against Lebanese protesters in Jal el-Dib and Zouk (north of Beirut) by pushing protesters and preventing them to close the roads.

For the first time on Tuesday, the Lebanese army removed protester tents in several areas, reopening the roads to traffic.

A European ambassador asked a Lebanese official why authorities used force in Jal el-Dib and Zouk and not in the Ring Bridge, Martyrs’ Square and Riyad al-Solh in Beirut.

He remarked however that despite these measures, the protesters may again take to the streets should President Michel Aoun fail to call for binding parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister.

The ambassador admitted that the popular movement has no central leadership to control its steps.

Saad Hariri resigned as premier last week, yielding to the protests.

Unprecedented cross-sectarian demonstrations have gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding a complete overhaul of a political system deemed inefficient and corrupt.

Protesters have called for an end to Aoun's tenure, as well as drastic change to a political system dominated by the same figures and families since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.

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