On Monday, Lebanese took to the streets to continue closing roads across the highway and in the cities in protest of the unbearable financial situation.
The angry protests were sparked as the Lira touched 11,000 LBP per dollar; a record-breaking low value of the national currency.
However, despite it being the right of the people to express themselves, Lebanon‘s President Michel Aoun called on the Lebanese army to take immediate action against them.
He condemned the protesters for closing roads saying, “What is happening from roadblocks goes beyond a mere expression of opinion, but to an organized act of sabotage aimed at striking stability [of the country].”
Former Lebanese ambassador to Jordan Tracy Chamoun, who had previously resigned in protest against the government right after the Beirut Explosion, issued an intriguing remark about president Aoun‘s statements, which his press office tweeted following the Baabda security meeting.
She stated that Aoun‘s statements were reminiscent of those issued by the information minister of Saddam Hussein before his fall from power.
She added that Aoun‘s request to the army to open the roads by force is “a denial of reality and the status of the military establishment whose [members] pay the price for the failure and collapse of the political class confronting the demonstrators who are demanding their rights.”
Some political figures also came forward with their refusal of the decisions taken at the now-infamous Baabda security meeting.
The head of the Kataeb Party, resigned-MP Samy Gemayel, said it was, “an economic, financial, security, judicial, and repressive coup instead of implementing the constitution, forming a government, and calling for parliamentary elections to save Lebanon.”
The army had also its own response to Aoun‘s request. The Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, issued a striking statement in which he asked the political officials: “Where are we going?”
He issued that the country’s officials didn’t care about the army or the suffering of soldiers who are just as hungry as the people of the country and those protesting.
In light of Aoun‘s call to forcefully halt and silence the protesters, an old video of his before his current position began to circulate on social media. He is heard threatening the back-then Army Commander Jean Kahwaji not to send troops against the Free Patriotic Movement protests which he was leading.
Today, a president, Aoun is not granting the citizens the same privilege or rights he had demanded back then when stating, “Don’t you dare, Jean Kahwaji, to send your troops. You don’t just send the army in the face of a protest we are doing to express ourselves.”
And yet, back then, Lebanon was not at such a high-level of devastation and crises that have materialized during his reign, leading the country and its people to an unknown yet clearly dark fate.