Middle East

Lebanon: Man killed during protests after Auon's speech

Activist killed by military personnel trying to open blockaded road in Beirut

Mahmut Geldi and Gulsen Topcu   | 13.11.2019
Lebanon: Man killed during protests after Auon's speech

BEIRUT 

An activist was killed Tuesday in the capital Beirut when soldiers attempted to drive down a road closed by protesters.

The soldiers fired on the crowd, which were preventing their vehicle from passing, hitting activist Ala Abu Fahr.

He was taken to a nearby hospital but died despite efforts to save him.

Protests in Lebanon eased after the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on Oct. 29 following nationwide demonstrations over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades but were reignited after President Michel Aoun gave an interview to a local TV station at the Baabda Presidential Palace in Beirut.

During the interview, Aoun addressed the protesters, who have been taking to the streets since Oct. 17, saying the government understands their problems and demands.

"We are also ready to correct the mistakes. But do not destroy the country with your behavior. Do not ruin the government. Closing roads and disrupting education paralyzes the country.

“If people aren’t satisfied with any of our decent leaders, let them emigrate,” he said.

Following this, people throughout the country, including in the capital, began blocking streets in large groups.

The protesters blocked main roads and chanted slogans against Aoun and his son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

The army attempted to open some roads in Beirut, which led to the clash with protestors and Abu Fahr’s death.

At the end of October, Aoun announced he would change the government and select ministers based on experience, not on their political affiliations.

Yet the protests continued, with protesters saying it did not fulfill their demand of improving their living conditions.

The mass protests erupted across Lebanon last month against plans to tax calls on WhatsApp and other messaging services.

The demonstrations quickly turned into wider grievances with calls for the resignation of the Lebanese government and bringing corrupt officials to accountability.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit in Ankara

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