BEIRUT: Scores gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Metn’s Awkar in protest against foreign interference in Lebanese affairs and the latest remarks by former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman.
"We are free and independent, we do not accept any interference," one protester said.
The protesters burned pictures of Feltman, in addition to the U.S. and Israeli flags.
Local media reported the protest brought together supporters of political parties and protesters from the uprising, amid a heavy security presence.
Speaking before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism Tuesday, Feltman said the ongoing protest and “reactions to them by Lebanese leaders and institutions fortunately coincide with U.S. interests.”
“Sustained U.S. interest, attention and messaging can make a difference as the Lebanese struggle to decide how to proceed beyond the home-grown protests. The trick for us is nuance. It would be unwise to interfere directly in Lebanese political decisions, which would make it too easy for [Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan] Nasrallah (or Syria, Iran or Russia) to cite credible examples in predictable attempts to discredit the protestors and their demands as U.S.-directed,” Feltman said.
Nationwide protests that started on Oct. 17 have seen hundreds of thousands in the street against the ruling class. People have demanded the formation of a technocratic government following the resignation of Saad Hariri from his post as premier on Oct. 29. Protesters have also demanded an overhaul of the decades-long sectarian political system, early parliamentary elections and return of “looted public funds.”