President Michel Aoun addressed Tripoli after four nights of protests against the lockdown and lack of government support to keep the poor from starving. He also ensured that funding would soon be provided to vulnerable Lebanese families.
During a meeting on Friday, Aoun oversaw the launching of a plan to finance the social safety net through a $246 million loan from the World Bank. He vowed that the funds would be distributed transparently and fairly to the most vulnerable families of Lebanon.
He also addressed the protests that turned violent in Tripoli, in which two protesters died after getting shot with live ammunition by security forces.
On Thursday night, rioters stormed several buildings in Tripoli and set them on fire, including the municipality of Tripoli.
Commenting on this, he said that security forces have been instructed to maintain security in the northern capital, prevent attacks, and punish rioters whose “political identities are known.”
What he is implying is unclear. But between the lines, his statement carries blame over toward his adversary, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
However, Hariri had already previously warned that “behind the moves in Tripoli may be parties that want to send political messages, and there may be those who take advantage of the people’s pain.”
While these back-and-forth statements do nothing for the people whose pain and suffering are real, they display the priorities of Lebanon’s political elite.
For instance, billionaire former PM Najib Mikati has warned that he would take up arms in Tripoli to protect himself and his property if the Lebanese army wouldn’t control the situation.
After Aoun‘s statement, some people on social media are rhetorically asking, “Since you know who is behind the riots in Tripoli, do you know who was behind the Beirut Port blast?”
Regardless, Aoun has reportedly requested an investigation into the Tripoli protests after rioters infiltrated the crowd of peaceful demonstrators.
As of the time of writing, 5 suspects have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the torching of the municipality’s building.
Meanwhile, the entire country is still waiting on the investigation into the Beirut Port explosion to yield results and give closure to the nation.