US embassy in Lebanon ‘supports’ peaceful protests

The revolution bus

The US embassy in Lebanon said on Saturday it supported the one-month-old anti-government protest movement in Lebanon. 

“We support the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity,” the embassy said on Twitter.

Lebanon has since October 17 been swept by an unprecedented cross-sectarian protest movement against the entire political establishment, which is widely seen as irretrievably corrupt and unable to deal with a deepening economic crisis.

The government stepped down on October 29 but stayed on in a caretaker capacity, and an economic crisis has also battered the country.

Some local players, notably the powerful pro-Iranian Shiite movement Hezbollah, have accused “external parties” and Western embassies of supporting the popular uprising, including through financial backing. 

Several mass rallies are planned for Sunday in cities across Lebanon to keep up the pressure on the country’s ruling class. 

On Saturday, an initiative dubbed the “revolution bus” traversed the country.

Leaving Akkar region in the north in the morning, the bus — decorated with the names of protest hotbeds in the multi-confessional country — arrived early in the evening in the southern city of Sidon.

According to protesters, the initiative sought to break down geographical and sectarian barriers and overcome the collective trauma of the 1975-1990 civil war.

In an incident that became emblematic of inter-sectarian schisms during that deadly conflict, a bus was strafed by gunfire.