Speaker Nabih Berri speaks to visitors during his weekly meeting with lawmakers on Jan. 10, 2018. (The Daily Star/ Mohammad Azakir)
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Sources close to Speaker Nabih Berri claimed the latest incident sparked by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil's "thug" comments may be aimed at postponing the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 6 .Other sources close to Berri said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri was greeted with "tough words" as he tried to mediate between the two sides.The same sources claim that Bassil's leaked comments were no accident.Bassil calling Berri a "thug" triggered a wave of street protests by the speaker's supporters, who responded by blocking a number of Beirut's major roads with burning tires.Berri demanded a televised apology from Bassil for calling him a "baltaji" or "thug" as a means of defusing street tensions.However, Al-Akhbar quoted sources close to Bassil as saying no apology would be issued.
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