Several Hurt as Angry Mourners Try to Storm Grand Serailإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Several people were injured as security forces used tear gas on Sunday to repel demonstrators trying to storm the Grand Serail, the headquarters of the Lebanese government in downtown Beirut, amid calls for Prime Minister Najib Miqati to resign.
Following the funeral nearby of slain Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, chief of the Internal Security Forces' Intelligence Bureau, "young people headed towards the building in the city center, but security forces blocked them by firing into the air and using tear gas," a policeman on the scene told Agence France Presse.
The group was estimated at a couple of hundred people.
During funeral orations for slain Maj. Gen. al-Hasan and his bodyguard Chief Warrant Officer Ahmed Suhyooni, former premier Fouad Saniora called on Miqati to resign and stressed that the March 14 forces will not engage in dialogue before the government's departure.
Also during the funeral, an angry pro-March 14 journalist, Nadim Qteish, called on mourners to head to the Grand Serail.
Clashes stopped around half an hour later, after opposition chief ex-PM Saad Hariri and Saniora urged protesters to refrain from storming the Grand Serail and to end the confrontation.
"We are not advocates of violence and I call on all supporters to leave the streets immediately," said Hariri in a televised appeal.
"It is true that we demanded to topple the government, but we want to this matter to be done in a peaceful manner," Hariri added.
"We want to keep Lebanon safe, a country for freedom and democracy. I reiterate my request to all supporters to depart immediately and I will ask security officers in charge of the Center House to protect the Grand Serail because what happened is totally unacceptable,” he announced.
For his part, Saniora said: "We express our great appreciation for the feelings of the citizens, but the use of violence is unacceptable."
Saniora noted that "the Grand Serail is a building for the Lebanese state and we must protect it."
"This approach is unacceptable and does not serve our cause," he added.
"We will not back down from our demand, which is the government's departure, and our morals do not approve the storming of the Grand Serail or any other institution," Saniora went on to say.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea called on all the supporters of the LF and the March 14 forces to refrain from attacking the Grand Serail and to "express their demands peacefully."
Phalange Party Central Committee Coordinator MP Sami Gemayel also denounced the violence, stressing that "the calls for storming the Grand Serail were not voiced by March 14.”