Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Hezbollah Beirut Protest Urges Lebanon PM To Quit


Hezbollah Supporters Tell PM To Quit In Huge Beirut Protest

By Sophie McNeill In Beirut

Sophie
McNeillSophie McNeill writes: Hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah supporters packed the roads of the Lebanese capital yesterday as they took part in a huge anti-government rally.

"We're from the north and the south and we've come to fill your squares, Beirut," was the chant from the crowd. Hundreds of soldiers and armoured troop carriers were deployed around central Beirut, while barbed wire surrounded government offices.

Hezbollah supporters called for the resignation of the anti-Syrian US-backed government of the Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora. "Siniora into the pit!" roared the crowd while many held signs that read: "We want a clean government."

Following the huge anti-Syrian rally that followed the funeral of the assassinated Christian minister Pierre Geyamal last week, it was Hezbollah's turn to prove they too could bring a show of force to the streets. "We're the majority! Take a picture of us and show we are the majority!" shouted an old veiled woman, "We've come from the Bekaa Valley and we want this government to resign."

Heeding yesterday's call from the Hezbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah for an open-ended strike and indefinite sit-in, many who came said they would not leave until their demands were met. "Until the problem is over, we will stay," said a mother and daughter who had travelled two hours to Beirut from southern Lebanon. "We have brought supplies and we will sleep here if necessary until the government resigns."

Hezbollah and its allies have been demanding the formation of a government of national unity, after six Shia ministers resigned from the cabinet three weeks ago, leaving the government without any Shia Muslim representatives.

"We are here because we want a share in ruling this country," said 23-year old Rima. "It can't just be one sect. The Sunnis are trying to rule this country alone."

Hezbollah has accused Mr Siniora's cabinet of failing to support them during the July-August war with Israel and many demonstrators accused the anti-Syrian government of hurting the Shia party's war efforts.

"This government didn't help us at all during the war so we want the government now to end," said 17-year-old Mona. "We love Nasrallah because, without him, Lebanon would have been destroyed but he made Israel leave."

But the man everyone was waiting for did not show, as Mr Nasrallah left Michel Aoun, Hezbollah's Christian ally and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, to address the crowd. "I call on the Prime Minister and his ministers to quit," Mr Aoun said to the crowd. (Report continues below photo essay.)


WS rally.


Security was tight.


Hezbollah Supporters.


Hezbollah supporters dancing on the streets Friday night.


Hezbollah supporters slept on the streets Friday.

The Syrian and Iranian- backed Hezbollah has branded Mr Siniora's government as a US puppet and America was accused of interfering in Lebanon's affairs by many of the speakers.

"The countdown has began for the falling of this government, the government of (United States) Ambassador Feltman!" roared an opposition spokesman as the crowd responded with the chant "Beirut is free, America get out!"

"They are letting the Americans interfere in our country and we don't want that. We want an independent Lebanon," said Bilal, a 17-year-old Hezbollah supporter.

As night fell, thousands of opposition supporters remained in the Lebanese capitol awaiting instructions from their party leaders for the next move in their attempts to overthrow the government.

"(Prime Minister) Siniora is counting on us to feel tired and sleepy, counting on us to get hungry, counting on us to get cold," said one speaker those who remained, "But we will not accept to live without dignity."

*******

Sophie McNeill is a documentary journalist and foreign correspondent. This is her first article for Scoop. Click here to view more of Sophie's work...

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Binoy Kampmark: A Looting Matter: Cambodia’s Stolen Antiquities

Cambodia has often featured in the Western imagination as a place of plunder and pilfering. Temples and artefacts of exquisite beauty have exercised the interest of adventurers and buccaneers who looted with almost kleptocratic tendency. In 1924, the French novelist and future statesman André Malraux, proved himself one of Europe’s greatest adventurers in making off with a ton of sacred stones from Angkor Wat... More>>



Dunne Speaks: Labour Leadership Speculation Premature And Facile
Speculation that the Prime Minister’s leadership of the Labour Party may be at risk because of this week’s adverse poll results is as exaggerated as it is premature and facile. While her popularity has plummeted from the artificially stellar heights of a couple of years ago and is probably set to fall further to what would be a more realistic assessment... More>>




Ian Powell: Colossal ‘Porkies’ And Band-aids Don’t Make A Health Workforce Plan

On 1 August Minister of Health Andrew Little announced what he described as the start of a plan for the beleaguered workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system: Government’s 5 year late health workforce announcement. In October 2017, when Labour became government with its two coalition parties, it inherited a health workforce crisis from the previous National-led government... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Fuss About Monkeypox
The World Health Organization has been one of the easier bodies to abuse. For parochial types, populist moaners and critics of international institutions, the WHO bore the brunt of criticisms from Donald Trump to Jair Bolsonaro. Being a key institution in identifying public health risks, it took time assessing the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Time For MPs To Think For Themselves
One of the more frequently quoted statements of the Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was his observation that “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement, and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”... More>>