BEIRUT: In support of embattled President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, thousands of Free Patriotic Movement supporters have gathered near the Baabda Presidential Palace.
The gathering comes in response to nationwide protests that have engulfed Lebanon over the past two weeks and toppled Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Cabinet.
The protesters had accused Lebanon's decades-old political class, including Aoun and Bassil, of mismanagement and corruption which led Lebanon to the brink of economic collapse.
On Saturday, FPM supporters held a similar event at the same location, which was attended by caretaker ministers Elias Bou Saab, Ghassan Atallah and Nada Boustani, as well as a number of FPM MPs.
Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law and leader of the FPM, addressed the huge crowd, saying that ”their support is needed to achieve reforms.“
“We cannot achieve change alone,” he said.
Bassil’s FPM has attracted the ire of demonstrators as Lebanon has tumbled under the leadership of Aoun, who took office in 2016 while vowing to eradicate corruption.
Instead, Lebanon’s financial state has took a turn for the worst, with soaring unemployment and public debt.
The FPM has accused its opponents of obstructing reforms initiatives and laying the blame of the crisis as years of mismanagement preceding Aoun’s mandate.
“We failed to reform in conciliatory manners,” Bassil said, vowing to ”clean up politics in the long road to change.”
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