Beirut, Lebanon – Protesters burned tires, threw stones at soldiers and blocked roads across Lebanon as the country's anti-government protests entered their fifth week. President Michel Aun's statement in a television interview on Tuesday that if the demonstrators "see no decent people in this state, let them emigrate. They will not come to power."
Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers stopped the assembled protesters several hundred meters from the palace, which blocked the road with jeeps, barbed wire and three-man-deep lines of insurgent police in full body armor.
Tensions increased during the day with several convulsions and an arrest. Protesters dug graffiti along the road with a slogan that read, "How do you sleep at night, Mr. President?"
"His words were offensive, it was an insult; it only burned everyone, made everyone very angry," said Hala Nasreddine, carrying a Lebanese flag woven through her hair. "He came over because he has no idea how people feel or behaves and for almost a month now people are on the streets, it hasn't really got him in any shape or form.
" And away from that reality on the ground he talks to us like he's the godfather and he saved us, and if we don't like what he offers we should leave the country, "added the 48-year-old activist from Beirut.
" Who should he tell us to leave our own country? If anyone were to leave this country, it should be him and his weapons. "
" Everything Means Everything "
Aoun acknowledged that negotiations to form a new government have stalled, more than two weeks after Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation. He is reluctant to return to lead a new cabinet unless it fully exists. by technocrats, one of the key demands of protesters.
However, the president said that a new government must include existing politicians who "a technocrat government cannot define the country's politics".
It is unclear whether protesters will accept the return of Hariri or any of the If the often heard song from the month-long protest movement "Kilon yanni kilon" ̵
As the country enters its second month of continuous demonstrations, banks remain closed after workers strike, for fear of their safety after several storytellers were attacked by custom ers, angry that unofficial capital controls were introduced by individual banks.
Universities and schools remain closed until further notice, and gas stations have started rationing fuel or have closed, saying their reserves will run out within a week. Aoun warned that the country was heading for "disaster", but in its third speech in as many weeks, offered no concrete solutions to the protests' grip.
While she does not expect the political system to change overnight, Nasreddine said that the government's refusal to give way to new faces in politics promotes further protesters and drives their anger.
"The least they can do is resign and let new blood, new thinkers … take over and do something for us for a change. They've had [power] for 30 years, they failed us," she said "If we try and fail, it is our fault, but giving us the opportunity to try something else, it is our right."
Aoun & # 39; s War
The demonstrations, which have been largely peaceful since collisions on the first night of October 17, now happens in the shadow of a new reality, one that spreads not only rage but also fear.
On Tuesday, Alaa Abou Fakher, a member of the Dracian Progressive Socialist Party, is shot in the head by a soldier in front of his wife and children while protesting in Khaldeh, south of Beirut, later dying in hospital.The army maintains that the bullet flew astray when shots were fired to disperse protesters who were arguing over a roadblock. paused their anti-Aoun demonstrations on Wednesday night to hold memorials for Abou Fakher, write his name in candlelight and cover photographs of the two-father in white floral wreaths. After his coffin was transported through central Beirut, the mood turned with angry protesters who lit fires to shoot back the insurgent police. Conflicts continued throughout the night.
"I was hoping that today [after Abou Fakher's death] all of Lebanon would be here, but that is not the case," said protester Mirna Makarem. "And that is because they are of the generation that lived the civil war. They are scared.
" Our president has already made war on Lebanese once, "she said, referring to what Lebanese call" Hareb Aoun "- Aoun's war – the 1989 offensive against Muslim and Dracian militias led by Aoun, then commander of the army, during the Lebanese civil war, in which more than 900 Lebanese were killed.
"Why would he not do it a second time and use the army's weapons against us, the people ? We have tried to make this, this revolution, from the beginning, peaceful. So many of us have been affected and we have not fought back. But what can I do to a bullet? "