News / Middle East

Lebanese Sunnis React With Anger Over New PM

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, 25 Jan 2011
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, 25 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Lebanon's president has asked the Hezbollah-backed candidate for prime minister to form a new government, after he won a majority of lawmakers' votes.  But outraged supporters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri took to the streets in several cities to protest the appointment.  The demonstrations were sometimes violent.

VOA's Sudan Yackee interviews correspondent Margaret Besheer, who was at the scene of the protest in Tripoli:

Thousands of angry supporters of Saad Hariri gathered in Tripoli's Nour Square shouting their loyalty to him and saying they would not allow their country to go down "An Iranian path" as they fear will happen in a Hezbollah-controlled government.

The Iranian and Syrian-backed group secured the prime minister's office in a vote of 68 to 60 for their candidate, billionaire businessman Najib Mikati.

Mikati holds one of the parliament seats from Tripoli, where pro-Hariri supporters tore down a banner with his photo and burned it.  They also attacked and burned a car belonging to the al-Jazeera satellite channel and invaded an office of a Hariri-rival, Mohammad Safadi, sacking it and putting the blue flag of Mr. Hariri's Future Movement on the balcony.

Meanwhile in areas of Beirut, heavy gunfire was reported and tires were burned on major roads.

Mr. Hariri went on television in the afternoon to call for calm and expressed regret for the violence, saying that is not the way to show Lebanese anger.

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said he would  cooperate fully with all Lebanese to form a new government that protects the unity and sovereignty of the country. He urged all political parties to participate in the new government and said this does not signal the victory of one camp over another.

But pro-Hariri supporters were not assuaged.  Many called Mr. Mikati, who won election to parliament on Hariri's ticket, "a traitor."  At the Tripoli demonstration, Amal, 27, said Saad Hariri is the only leader for Lebanon.

"He fights for freedom, he does not fight for Syria, he does not fight for blood," said Amal. "What did they [Hezbollah] give us?  War?  Arms?  We do not want it.  We want to learn, we want to study.  And this is what Saad Hariri wants.  We are here to give our blood to him."

Walid, 51, a dentist, says he is worried this is the beginning of a protracted political crisis in Lebanon.  "It is going to be a long fight, a long crisis, from now maybe until this summer," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mikati will begin the difficult task of forming a new government. 

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid