Caretaker Minister of State Michel Pharaon addressed the rally marking the 6th anniversary of the Cedar Revolution by by announcing that the march will continue until the Cedar Revolution’s aims are achieved.
Men in “black shirts” – a reference to Hezbollah – will not control Beirut’s streets, Pharaon said, adding that the Cedar Revolution will continue in a new manner.
“We have engaged in settlements and were deceived. We engaged in dialogue, and were stabbed. They carried out a coup by threatening with their arms… But we will no longer accept their intimidation and the threats of their arms and their blackmail which is being used to hide their corruption.”
National unity and stability cannot be achieved with the presence of arms, he also said, adding that resisting Israel is not possible if there is no national unity or if Lebanon is linked to regional axes.
Pharaon insisted that only the government should make decisions of peace and war, adding that defending Lebanon can be carried out by placing non-state arms under the authority of the state.
The rally this year comes after Hezbollah’s military might was blamed for the collapse of the government . The Iranian and Syrian -backed Hezbollah brought down Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) imminent indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati was appointed in January with the backing of the Hezbollah March 8 alliance and MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi following the collapse of Hariri’s unity government. March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination.
Jumblatt and his PSP parliament members reportedly switched allegiance to Hezbollah’s PM candidate, following threats by Hezbollah.
Jumblatt, Mikati and Safadi were all elected on March 14 electoral tickets during the 2009 parliamentary elections.
March 14 parties have announced that they will not take part in the cabinet Mikati is currently forming, and Hariri vowed last week to fight the use of non-state weapons “peacefully and democratically.”