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Hezbollah, Amal Criticize Lebanese Army Behavior

Hezbollah, Amal Criticize Lebanese Army Behavior

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 09:15
Lebanese anti-government protesters face security forces during a demonstration near the parliament headquarters in the capital Beirut's downtown district on November 19, 2019. Patrick BAZ / AFP

Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have lashed out at the Lebanese army and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) accusing them of not exerting enough efforts to open roads to lawmakers who failed to attend a parliamentary session that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Anti-government protesters, who have taken to the street since October 17, forced on Tuesday Amal leader Speaker Nabih Berri to adjourn the session to a date that will be set later after they blocked all roads leading to the parliament building in downtown Beirut.

Berri and a member of his parliamentary bloc, caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, blamed the security apparatuses for failing to open the roads.

Amal’s condemnations were backed by Hezbollah.

The Shiite party’s deputy Ali Ammar brought up the issue again on Wednesday when he said: “We saw officers and soldiers indifferently watching deputies who were insulted on checkpoints.”

For his part, Ali Khreis, an MP from Berri's bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “If we wanted to open the roads (leading to parliament) we could have opened 100 roads. However, we are fighting sedition.”

The deputy said Amal Movement is avoiding bloodshed in the streets. “The parliament session was supposed to be held last Tuesday under guarantees by the Lebanese army and the ISF to keep the roads open. However both apparatuses did not deal seriously with this matter,” Khreis said.

He added that the roads to the legislature were blocked despite the presence of only 1,500 protesters around the parliament building.

The Interior Ministry and the Internal Security Forces did not issue any official responses to the accusations.

However, military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Lebanese army abided by it tasks. Army officers were not tasked to oversee the roads near the parliament building. This was the mission of the ISF.”

The source added that the army was positioned in areas where all roads were open.

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