BEIRUT: The United States Embassy in Beirut denied it was financing the “revolution bus,” which was briefly prevented from entering Sidon Saturday, in order to defuse tensions with counter-protesters over suspicions of foreign funding.
“We heard the rumors and no, the U.S. Embassy is not financing ‘the revolution bus,’” the embassy stated Saturday, via Twitter, along with a “facepalm” emoji.
The embassy expressed support for “the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity.”
The “revolution bus,” which set off from Akkar early Saturday morning on a mission to drive south through the main sites of the month-long mass demonstrations, was held up north of Sidon by the Lebanese Army for approximately two hours.
A group of people had gathered at the city’s entrance, refusing to let the bus enter, following claims that the journey was financed by foreign powers and the passengers were affiliated with the Lebanese Forces.
However, the passengers vehemently rejected such accusations, saying they were residents of Akkar who are using the bus as a means of protest.
The bus eventually continued on its way to Sidon’s Elia intersection, but ended its trip there, after advice from the Army not to continue to Nabatieh and Tyre, as planned.
Covered in photographs of memorable moments from the last 31 days of protests, the bus was accompanied by a convoy of dozens of flag-covered cars.