Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun defended on Tuesday the Lebanese army, warning of attempts to create division among its ranks.
He said after the Change and Reform bloc’s weekly meeting: “Some sides are seeking to create division in the army to break it up into militias.”
“We will not let this happen,” he declared.
“We are reliving the period of the 1970s when the army was divided,” he noted.
“No minister can state that this issue is too great for us. Whoever says so can step down,” said the MP in an indirect reference to Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
The minister had said that the issue of Salafist Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir is too great for his ministry and government to handle.
Aoun continued: “We do not oppose justice, but we object to its violation.”
“Our past indicates that we have always defended the unity of the army and we reject its slaughter at the hand of fundamentalists,” added the lawmaker.
He explained that the FPM rally from Beirut’s Mathaf area to the Military Tribunal is in protest “against the blackmailing of the judiciary.”
“We are above the executive authority and we are responsible for Lebanon. We will not allow the repetition of the events of the 1970s,” stressed Aoun.
On the arrest of officers linked to the death of Sheikhs Ahmed Abdul Wahed and Mohammed Merheb, he asked: “Can we be informed of what was found in Abdul Wahed’s car? We heard that it contained alcoholic beverages. Were any RPGs found?”
“We are taking this position first and foremost for the sake of the residents of Akkar,” said the FPM leader.
“The justice, security forces, or the army cannot distance itself from Akkar, Beirut, and Electricite du Liban,” he added.
The relatives of the officers detained in the case of Abdul Wahed and a number of army supporters on Monday blocked the Sarba-Jounieh road near an army barracks, declaring that they will not leave before the release of the generals.
The military examining magistrate issued on Saturday arrest warrants against three army officers, who were released last week, in the case of the killing of Abdul Wahed and his companion at an army checkpoint in the Akkar town of al-Kweikhat in May.
Judge Riyad Abu Ghida questioned the three officers and ordered their re-arrest, the National News Agency reported. The three officers were transferred back to the military police jail.
Their release on bail last week along with eight soldiers arrested over the case angered the residents of the district of Akkar where Sheikhs Abdul Wahed and Mohammed Merheb were killed.
Five other soldiers remain in custody.
On the latest protests at EDL, he remarked: “The protesters are violating the law by holding their demonstration at a state institution.”
“Those inciting the workers should be imprisoned,” he stated.
“The issue cannot be resolved without ending the protest and those involved in it,” he said.
EDL contract employees, who have erected tents inside the EDL headquarters in Mar Mikhael, stressed that they would not end their sit-in until their salaries are paid and they officially become full timers.
On Monday, the workers clashed with angry citizens who demanded to end the strike and allow full-timers to resume work normally.
The employees launched a sit-in to call for their full-time employment and the payment of their June and July salaries.
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