Beirut- Lebanon’s armed forces have deployed near the presidential palace east of Beirut to prevent friction between rival Lebanese protesters as the stalemate over forming a crisis government continues.
Anti-government protesters had called for a rally Sunday outside the Presidential Palace in Baabda to press President Michel Aoun to formally begin the process of forming a new government. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned over a month ago amid nationwide protests accusing the political elite of corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
The call prompted a counter-rally by supporters of Aoun who called him a “red line.” Army soldiers formed a human chain to separate the groups on a highway leading to the palace, preventing clashes.
Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-government protesters
Thousands marched Sunday from Hamra, Ashrafieh and Mathaf towards Martyrs Square and Riad al-Solh Square in central Beirut.
The protesters marched under the slogans “Sunday of Clarity” and “Unity and Solidarity of the Lebanese People”.
They called for the formation of a “transitional government” free of ruling parties’ representatives in order to “take urgent measures in the face of the economic collapse caused by the ruling class.”
Protesters also called for “the independence of the judiciary and the prosecution of corrupts and those who robbed public funds and public and private property including bank deposits.”
Carrying olive branches, some protesters called on the ruling parties not to try to scare them with “civil war” threats, emphasizing on the peaceful nature of the protests.
Aoun has delayed the consultations, arguing that a prior agreement is needed on the shape of the new government in order to avoid a political clash and a lengthy formation process.
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