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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid