Lebanon shaken by third day of protests with some denouncing Hezbollah

The leader of the terrorist group threatened that his supporters would go out into the protests if necessary.

Demonstrators carry national flags during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Oct. 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR)
Demonstrators carry national flags during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Oct. 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR)
Protests continued to rage throughout Lebanon on Saturday as politicians attempt to find a way to end a crisis that has many calling for the current government to step down.
The Christian Lebanese Forces party announced on Saturday night that its four ministers would be resigning from the government. "We have reached the conclusion that this government is powerless to take the steps needed to save the country from worsening financial and economic conditions," said party leader Samir Geagea in a televised address.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave the government 72 hours to pass financial reforms or he would take a different approach, which some interpreted as a threat to resign, according to Al-Arabiya.
Some Lebanese politicians and protesters spoke out against the Hezbollah terrorist group after the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the government shouldn't resign.
Nasrallah said in a televised speech that he supported the government, but called for a new agenda and "new spirit," adding that ongoing protests showed the way forward and not new taxes. Nasrallah also claimed that it would take “a year or two” to form a new government and that “time is short.”
The terrorist group leader threatened that his supporters would go out into the protests if necessary.
Protesters in the streets of Beirut called for all party leaders and politicians in Lebanon to step down, including Nasarallah.
"Hezbollah bears the greatest responsibility [for the protests] because of its confiscation of war and peace resolutions," said former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel, according to Al-Arabiya. "It controls many areas in the country and dictates the interests of the state. There is a great resentment by the Lebanese people for their actions."
Protesters were attacked and prevented from protesting by gunmen supporting the pro-Hezbollah Amal movement in Tyre and Nabatiyeh on Friday and Saturday, according to Sky News Arabia.
"There is a lack of trust between the people and the political community," said former prime minister Fouad Siniora to Sky News Arabia. "The dominance of militias and parties over formal decisions must be abolished."
Siniora explained that he doesn't believe that the government stepping down would effect the change that the protesters want. "Hezbollah's authority over the state must be abolished. Hezbollah exercises an iron fist on Lebanon and the government."
Former Lebanese parliament member Fares Souaid told Sky News Arabia that the speech by Nasrallah had incited the Lebanese protesters who have "broken the barrier of fear created by the Hezbollah militia and sent a strong message to Nasrallah that there is no longer any room to dictate your point of view on the Lebanese people."
Two people were killed and others were wounded in a shooting in Tripoli during the protests.
Lebanon has one of the highest rates of public debt in the world relative to the size of its economy. The unemployment rate among youth under 35 is at 37%.
Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Beirut evacuated its citizens located in Lebanon on Friday, according to Al Arabiya.
Saudi citizens in the country were asked by the embassy to quickly contact them for preparations to leave Lebanon.
Bahrain told its citizens to leave immediately as well and Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates warned their citizens against traveling to Lebanon.
Reuters and Rachel Wolf contributed to this report.


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