Baton-wielding Hezbollah supporters attack protesters in capital Beirut
Defying the warning by the terrorist group Hezbollah, tens of thousands of Lebanese protesters took to the streets for the tenth day in a row. They are calling for an end to corruption and to the mismanagement that has pushed the country to the brink of an economic collapse.
Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, called on the demonstrators on Friday to end their anti-government protest. The Iran-backed terrorist leader warned of “chaos” and “civil war” if the mass protests were to continue. Nasrallah claimed that foreign “conspiracies” were behind the popular unrest, an ironic claim considering Hezbollah’s allegiance to foreign Mullahs sitting in Tehran. Following Nesrallah’s warning, his baton-wielding supporters attacked unarmed protesters in the capital Beirut.
The protests began last Thursday when the government announced plans to impose a levy on internet text messages. The Hezbollah-backed government scrapped the proposal, but the move triggered nationwide protests that continue to this day. Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched across Lebanon, calling “for the country’s entire cabinet to be replaced,” the UK newspaper The Telegraph noted.
Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in the country’s ruling political class. With its own army and command structure, the terror militia acts as a state-within-a-state in Lebanon. The current government headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri includes several Hezbollah ministers.
The Reuters news agency reported the anti-corruption protest entering its 10th day on Saturday:
Protesters poured back onto streets and squares across Lebanon on Saturday, despite army efforts to unblock roads, with no end in sight to a crisis that has crippled the country for 10 days and kept banks closed.
Army and security commanders met to plan ways to re-open main arteries to get traffic flowing again while “safeguarding the safety of protesters”, the military said in a statement. But people have closed routes with barriers, sit-ins and mass gatherings demanding the government resign.
Lebanon has been swept by 10 days of protests against a political class accused of corruption, mismanagement of state finances and pushing the country toward an economic collapse unseen since the 1975-90 civil war.
Banks, schools, and many businesses have shut their doors.
“We won’t leave the streets because this is the only card that people can pressure with,” Yehya al-Tannir, an actor protesting at a makeshift barricade on a main bridge in the capital Beirut. “We won’t leave until our demands are met.”
As night fell on Saturday, the first day of the weekend, protesters flooded streets across the country amid patriotic music, Lebanese flags and protest banners.
Troops and riot police deployed to main roads across Lebanon. Forces re-opened some roads for a few hours on Saturday morning before people gathered once again.
With funding from Iran drying up in the wake of U.S. sanctions, Hezbollah is struggling to keep Lebanon under its hold. The terrorist organization is so broke that Nasrallah has been forced to call for public ‘donations’ to finance his jihad activities.
Not satisfied with sanctioning Iran alone, the Trump administration is going after Hezbollah’s financial network. The U.S. State Department has offered up to $10 million for information that would lead to the disruption of Hezbollah’s money trail. “Our pressure on Iran is simple. It’s aimed at cutting off the funding for terrorists, and it’s working,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this year. “On March 8th, Hassan Nasrallah begged Hezbollah supporters to make new contributions.”
Hezbollah has been weakened militarily as well. Following Tehran’s orders, between 7,000 to 10,000 Hezbollah operatives have been deployed in Syria to strengthen dictator Bashar Assad’s hold on power. The Lebanese terrorist group has lost some 2,000 fighters, including senior operatives, in the Syrian theater.
Despite U.S. efforts, the European Union continues to offer safe haven to Hezbollah operatives. Brussels, backed by Germany, refuses to put a complete ban on the Iran-backed terrorist group. The EU continues to tolerate Hezbollah’s ‘political’ wing on its soil, allowing the terrorist group to carry out recruiting, money laundering, and terror-financing operations overseas.
As welcome as the popular uprising may be, it will take more than street protests to put an end to the corrupt system thriving under Hezbollah’s reign. Europe needs to join the U.S. in further weakening the terrorist organization.
[Cover image via YouTube]
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