The head of Lebanon's Kataeb Party, Sami Gemayel, spoke out against the Hezbollah terrorist movement after the movement's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah gave an address on Tuesday concerning the country's financial and political crisis.
"No one has the right to drag us into the place they want, and no one has the right to impose on us a lifestyle that we don’t want," said Gemayel concerning Hezbollah, adding that Hezbollah was preventing the Lebanese Army from closing illegal smuggling crossings along Lebanon's borders, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Hezbollah has been accused of smuggling goods and dollars from Lebanon into Syria and harming the Lebanese economy, as well as smuggling weapons from Syria into Lebanon. During his speech on Tuesday, Nasrallah denied smuggling dollars out of Lebanon.
The secretary-general warned that the US's Caesar Act, which placed a series of sanctions on Syria, would also negatively impact Lebanon, "perhaps more than Syria... Whoever calls to close borders with Syria will later call us to open the borders with ‘Israel,’" he said.
The Kataeb Party leader stressed that Lebanon doesn't "want to live in isolation and be cut off from the West, Arabs and the entire world."
Gemayel addressed Nasrallah, saying "We are not agents; rather, we are Lebanese. We consider you a Lebanese like us, and we ask you to join us under the constitution in order to build a new Lebanon.”
Lebanese Forces MP Pierre Bou Assi also spoke out against Nasrallah's speech, saying "Well done, sir. Just like that, camels are driven; but we are not camels,” according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
"No; We will not sacrifice our last hard currencies to save the Syrian regime... Our dollars belong to our citizens, the depositors, and they alone have the right to benefit from them,” added Assi.
Earlier this month, protests demanding that Hezbollah relinquish its weapons were organized by the Sabaa party, which is associated with anti-Hezbollah parties such as the Christian Kataeb and Lebanese Forces parties and Sunni politicians Bahaa Hariri and Ashraf Rifi who both oppose Hezbollah having weapons, according to Al-Arabiya.
During the October protests, officials from the Kataeb and Lebanese Forces parties spoke out multiple times against Hezbollah and other government officials. MPs from the Lebanese Forces party were some of the first to step down during the October protests.
In an address on Tuesday, Nasrallah responded to the protests, saying that "resistance arms, for our people, is part of our culture, strategic doctrine and deeper than others can imagine."
Nasrallah stated that such protests increase division on the ground and called against mixing protests against Hezbollah with protests concerning the economic situation.
“It is the responsibility of all political and religious forces not to allow our country to fall into chaos, sectarian or political strife,” said Nasrallah, warning that Hezbollah will do anything to avoid clashes. “Nothing is off the table.”