Mustaqbal Slams 'Insults', 'Suspicious' Protests and Attempt to Storm Serail
Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday condemned what it called “preemptive and suspicious” protests that have accompanied the government's state budget discussions as well as Monday's attempt to storm the Grand Serail by a number of retired servicemen protesting feared salary cuts.
“The government is asked to settle the ongoing bickering inside and outside Cabinet and it hopes the state budget will be finalized and sent to Parliament,” said the bloc in a statement issued after its weekly meeting.
“The bloc regrets some preemptive and suspicious protests that have crossed the boundaries of logic in approaching the economic affairs, in the vein of yesterday's events around the Grand Serail and the storming attempts, confrontations, insults and threats by some retired servicemen, who threatened to enter into the Grand Serail by force and occupy the seats of those convening around the Cabinet table,” Mustaqbal added.
“The government's headquarters and the rest of the official Lebanese buildings are not a violable land,” the bloc went on to say, lamenting that some parties “have given themselves the right to storm and insult state institutions.”
The retirees and other public employees have staged several sit-ins in recent weeks to warn against any wage cuts.
Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.
Last month, Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed to introduce "the most austere budget in Lebanon's history" to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.
Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.