BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called on officials to listen to the peoples’ demands and their uprising "before it's too late" during Sunday Mass in Bkirki.
“Seek what satisfies the people and do not ignore this uprising before it deviates from its course. ... Respond to our people’s needs with an act of love that would free you from the captivity of your benefits,” Rai said, addressing politicians.
Sunday marked the 11th day of nationwide protests against the ruling class and widespread corruption. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets since Oct. 17 demanding the resignation of the government and president and to hold early parliamentary elections.
“The government did not implement any reform required by the CEDRE conference to benefit from the pledged funds,” Rai said, referring to a conference held last year in Paris where the international community pledged over $11 billion in grants and soft loans.
The patriarch said the uprising joined Lebanese people under one flag, and the ruling class “cannot ignore [the people] and must listen to their demands before it’s too late.”
He also called on the protesters blocking the roads to "facilitate the movement of people."
Protesters have been blocking roads across the country since the start of the uprising. Security officials agreed in a meeting Saturday to open the roads without the use of violence.
Local news channel MTV reported the Mass was attended by a delegation of Free Patriotic Movement lawmakers, party officials and supporters, as well as Kataeb MP Elias Hankash.
"We're here to thank the patriarch for his support of the president," FPM official Gilbert Salameh said.