November 30, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1373

Lebanon on the Brink of Civil War (5): Popular Street Actions To Begin Tomorrow, December 1, At 3 PM

November 30, 2006
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 1373

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced today, November 30, 2006, that popular street actions to topple the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Al-Siniora are set to begin Friday, December 1. Nasrallah called for a mass assembly and for a sit-in demonstration of indefinite duration in the heart of Beirut. The other Lebanese opposition forces also called on Lebanon's citizens to participate in the sit-in demonstration. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, on his part, told government officials that they do not have to obey the orders of the government, which he termed "illegitimate."

At the same time, the March 14 Forces called on Lebanese citizens to be on the alert so as to resist the "Syrian coup attempt," and Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Michel Sulaiman called on the Lebanese army to be on highest alert.

The following are the main points of these statements.

Nasrallah: Tomorrow - Sit-in Demonstration of Indefinite Duration in the Heart of Beirut

In an announcement on Hizbullah's TV channel Al-Manar, Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said: "We have seen that all political efforts... have reached an impasse, since the ruling faction [i.e. the March 14 Forces] is insisting on holding power exclusively... Therefore, nothing remains for us and for all the national opposition forces [to do]... [except to undertake] popular activity that will apply pressure in order to achieve this goal [of a national unity government]...

"We are all called for the sake of this goal, and you, the Lebanese [citizens], are all called, from all the various regions, streams, ideologies, beliefs, and religions, to [nonviolent] civilized and popular action. In this way, we will express [our belief] and our view, and will advance matters towards [achieving] this opposition [i.e. a national unity government] in a nonviolent, civil, and political manner.

"I, on my part, call to all of you, on behalf of Hizbullah, to participate in the nonviolent mass popular assembly and in the sit-down demonstration of indefinite duration, which will begin Friday [December 1, 2006] afternoon, in the heart of Beirut..." [1]

Lebanese Opposition Calls to Participate in Demonstration

Immediately following Nasrallah's speech, the National Lebanese Opposition Forces issued a communiqué, in which they too called on Lebanese citizens to participate in the sit-in demonstration: "The National Lebanese Opposition Forces have been announcing, for a long time, their [desire] for an agreement between all Lebanese elements, to guarantee [everyone's] participation [in the government], by establishing a national unity government...

"We call upon the Lebanese, of all ethnic communities, in all regions, from all parties, and from all political and social forces, to [participate] in a [nonviolent] sit-in demonstration of indefinite duration, as a protest against the absence of the logic of true political partnership, and in order to demand the establishment of a national unity government... [The demonstration] will take place Friday, December 1, 2006, at 3 PM, in the heart of Beirut..." [2]

Lebanese President Tells Government Officials They Need Not Obey "Illegitimate" Government

In an interview with the BBC, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said, in response to a question on whether this was the proper time to take to the streets, as per Hizbullah's plan: "...If [Hizbullah] takes to the streets, it will be nonviolent, like all demonstrations in the past. At the same time, the officials of the government departments need not obey the orders of this illegitimate government, as happened in Gandhi's time, during the British occupation." [3]

Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Calls on Military To Be on Highest Alert

Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Gen. Michel Sulaiman called on military personnel "to be on highest alert, in order to fill the national role that they filled in years past and which they continue to fill. This is in order to defend freedom of expression, [and] to prevent rioting and attacks on public and private property." Gen. Sulaiman asked military personnel "to protect the security of all citizens, both opposition [supporters] and [coalition supporters], not to hesitate to intervene to prevent clashes between the groups, and also to firmly resist any attempt to damage security." [4]

March 14 Forces to Lebanese: Be Alert to Prevent Syrian Coup Attempt

Yesterday, November 29, 2006, the March 14 Forces released an announcement calling on Lebanese citizens "to be on highest alert, in light of the coup being planned by the Syrian regime against the legitimate Lebanese government..." [5]

[1] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 30, 2006.

[2] Al-Intiqad(Lebanon), November 30, 2006.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), November 30, 2006.

[4] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 30, 2006.

[5] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 30, 2006.

Share this Report: