Hundreds Take Part in Pro-Berri Rally outside Education Ministry
Hundreds of AMAL Movement supporters took part Wednesday evening in a rally outside the Education Ministry in Beirut's UNESCO Palace area.
The rally organized by AMAL students, teachers and university professors was held in protest at Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's leaked remarks against Parliament Speaker and AMAL leader Nabih Berri.
Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh, MP Ali Khreis of Berri's Liberation and Development bloc, Berri's sister Hanadi Berri and the ministry's director general of vocational and technical education Salam Younis took part in the rally.
Some protesters carried banners hailing Minister Hamadeh.
“We came here to confirm in front of the Education Ministry that we are Lebanese students, academics and university professors who support Speaker Nabih Berri and who have keenness on civil peace,” a spokesman for the protesters, Ahmed Khiami, said.
“Speaker Berri represents coexistence,” Khiami added.
MP Khreis for his part described the sit-in as spontaneous.
“Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's sin will not go unnoticed. People here are expressing their opinion,” Khreis said.
“We cannot accept insults against national leaders. Speaker Nabih Berri is a national leader who protected the resistance, took up arms against Israel and sought to consolidate national unity and coexistence,” Khreis added.
Several protests some of which involved road-blocking and rioting were organized across Lebanon over the past three days after the emergence of a leaked video showing Bassil calling Berri a "thug" during a closed meeting in Batroun.
The video comes amid an escalating dispute between Berri and President Michel Aoun over a decree granting one-year's seniority to a number of army officers.
The footage drew the ire of Berri's aides and political allies, who lashed out at Bassil, with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil calling the foreign minister “lowly” and a “political dwarf.”