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Lebanon’s Army Chief Defends Protester Arrests

Lebanon’s Army Chief Defends Protester Arrests

Monday, 18 November, 2019 - 08:00
Demonstrators hold Lebanese flags during an anti-government protest in the city of Sidon, Lebanon October 23, 2019. (Reuters)

Lebanon’s army chief, General Joseph Aoun, said Sunday that recent arrests against protesters targeted individuals who had sought to incite riots and violence and who had prevented the military from carrying out its duties.

He also stressed that the closure of roads by protesters was unacceptable.

He called for steering clear from rumors that only serve to drive a wedge between the people and military.

"History will show that the Lebanese army saved Lebanon," he underlined during an inspection of troops deployed in Beirut and the Mount Lebanon region.

Since October 17, Lebanon has been plunged in massive anti-government protests that are demanding the ouster of the current political class, whom demonstrators blame for rampant corruption and the country’s worst economic crisis since the civil war.

Protesters have sought to block roads in a bid to make their voices heard. The military recently arrested several demonstrators.

Aoun stressed that the army is "responsible for the security of demonstrators and other citizens,” praising their “high level of awareness” in preventing the rallies from spiraling into violence.

He revealed that the arrests included non-Lebanese people and others found to be in possession of drugs.

"The army is working and acting in the manner it deems fit," he stressed.

Aoun commended the "level of professionalism, discipline, high morality and courage demonstrated by the army in carrying out all the tasks entrusted to it with honor, sacrifice and loyalty.”

Addressing the troops, he hailed their devotion and dedication to their oath in serving the country and in proving that the military protects all citizens, regardless of their affiliations or views.

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