Protesters in Lebanon blocked roads with burning tyres in several parts of the country including the capital Beirut on Tuesday following an interview with President Michel Aoun in which he urged them to go home, the National News Agency reported.
During his televised interview, Aoun called on protesters to go home, saying their demands had been heard, and warned of a “catastrophe” if they stayed in the streets.
“If you continue in this way, you will strike Lebanon and your interests … I am placing you in front of this choice,” Aoun said.
“We are working day and night to get the situation in order. If they keep going, there is a catastrophe. If they stop, there is still room for [us] to fix things,” he said.
After the broadcast, protesters burned tyres to block roads across Lebanon, Reuters said, citing the country’s National News Agency.
“We’re going to block the roads again to increase the pressure and oust the president,” Haytham al-Darazi, a 36-year-old protester in Beirut, told AFP after Aoun’s speech.
The Lebanese president’s remarks came as thousands of people have taken to the streets across Lebanon to demand a transitional government that would tackle widespread corruption and avert a potential economic collapse.
“A technocrat government cannot define the policy of the country … and I back forming a government that is half political and half technocrat,” Aoun said.
That’s a reversal from what Aoun said last month, when he pledged that the next government would be made up of individuals who have “expertise and experience, not political loyalties”.
Earlier on Tuesday, Aoun met with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis, who urged the Lebanese leader to “maximally accelerate the process of the formation of the new government” and choose a new prime minister.
Lebanon has struggled under a failing economy, and the past month of protests has paralysed the country.
Update 1: In Khaldeh , a southern Beirut suburb one of the protesters was reportedly shot and was taken to nearby hospital in Shouifat . He was identified as Alaa Abu Fakhr.
According to this video Alaa Abu Fakhr was killed
Update 2 : The victim is reportedly a member of the Shouifat municipality and was shot by a person who wore an army uniform but was driving a civilian car. Abu Fakhr is reportedly a PSP member and PSP leader Walid Jumblatt accompanied by many of his supporters rushed to the Kamal Jumblatt Hospital in Shouifat as soon as he learned about the shooting.
Jumblatt told his supporters that showed up in front of the hospital that he contacted the Army chief and the army chief of staff . Our only choice is the state he told them and called for calm.
Update 3: The person that shot and killed Abu Fakhr was identified as Charbel Hujail . He is an army intelligence office who and body guard General Nidal Dao . The Lebanese army reported that Hujail gave himself up to the army and was arrested and being interrogated.
Ya Libnan / Agencies