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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid