Bassil Says People 'Turned the Tables', Slams 'Corrupts, Thugs'
Free Patriotic Movement chief and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Sunday noted that the people have “turned the tables,” as he slammed political rivals as “corrupts” and “thugs.”
“We had warned our partners that we would reach this stage and the people (who took part in the unprecedented popular revolt) acted before us and turned the tables and we are here to back them,” Bassil said at an FPM rally near the presidential palace in Baabda, reminding of his recent warning that the FPM would soon “turn the tables” in the country.
“We are not all corrupt and thugs. The corrupts are those who built their castles from the money of the people and the thugs are those who blocked roads and asked for extortion money,” Bassil added.
The FPM and its allies have accused Lebanese Forces supporters of “setting up checkpoints” that evoke the civil war era and of practicing extortion, claims that the LF and the protest movement have both dismissed as rumors.
“The priority today is for delaying the financial collapse, not for speeding it up, and let us call for accountability to purify our policies and achieve our demand of building a civil state without toppling the system,” Bassil added.
“We do not accept the end of the revolution with endurance of the corrupts and the departure of the upright officials,” he said.
“We dare anyone to prove that we are part of any suspicious deal,” he went on to say.
He added: “We moved from (the slogan) ‘all means all’ to ‘them alone’ because the main goal was the ouster of the president’s tenure but no one can eliminate us.”
The pro-Aoun demo in Baabda comes after more than two weeks of massive nationwide anti-graft protests that brought down the government.
Another such anti-graft demonstration is planned in Beirut to demand a complete overhaul of a political system deemed inefficient and corrupt.
In Baabda, Aoun supporters said they backed the general demands of protesters nationwide, but insisted the president was the only man able to bring about reforms.