Berri Says ‘Bloodshed Scheme’ Defeated on Tuesday
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday said that the “biggest winners” on Tuesday were “Lebanon and civil peace,” after he was forced to postpone a legislative session due to lack of quorum and road-blocking protests.
“Despite what happened yesterday, the important thing is that not a single drop of blood was shed although a bloodshed scheme was being plotted in dark rooms,” Berri said during the weekly meeting with MPs in Ain el-Tineh.
“We do not accept this and the priority was and will always be Lebanon and civil peace,” the Speaker added.
He also said that “a bet on spreading vacuum” was thwarted.
Lebanon's parliament, besieged by angry protesters Tuesday, for a second time postponed a session to discuss draft laws which critics charge would let corrupt politicians off the hook.
After a morning of noisy demonstrations outside the chamber, and after several political parties had said they would boycott the session, parliament official Adnan Daher appeared before TV cameras.
"The session has been postponed to a date to be determined later," he said, citing "exceptional ... security conditions."
"This is a new achievement for the revolution," cheered Mohamed Ataya, a 28-year-old demonstrator, vowing that no session would be held "as long as the people control the street."
From early morning, riot police had faced off with hundreds of noisy demonstrators and sporadic scuffles broke out outside the assembly, where activists tried to block MPs' convoys.
Warning shots were fired in the air as one convoy passed through the crowd, a broadcast on LBCI television showed. Demonstrators blamed an MP's bodyguard for firing them.
Lebanon has since October 17 been rocked by an unprecedented wave of popular street revolt that have cut across sectarian lines.
What started with protests against a plan to tax online phone calls made through WhatsApp and other applications has turned into a broader popular revolt against the perceived ineptitude and corruption of the entire ruling class.
Amid the crisis the prime minister, Saad Hariri, bowed to street pressure and resigned on October 29, but the parliamentary consultations needed to form a new government have yet to start.