Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri stressed Wednesday that “rumors implicating the name of the State of Qatar in the current Lebanese events are definitely baseless.”
“Qatar is a brotherly state that cares about Lebanon’s stability and it did not hesitate to help the country under all circumstances,” Hariri tweeted.
Hailing the “fraternal ties” with Qatar and its political leadership, the ex-PM expressed “gratitude for everything it has offered to Lebanon and Lebanese.”
On Monday, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, a member of Hariri’s Mustaqbal movement, alleged that “a small Arab state is playing an active role in financing and instigating the protests.”
“Its name will be revealed when the investigations end,” he told Al-Arabiya television.
And on Wednesday, the pro-Hizbullah al-Akhbar newspaper hinted that Qatar is involved in the popular protests, noting that LBCI television chairman Pierre al-Daher and al-Jadeed TV deputy chairperson Karma Khayyat had visited Doha in the past week.
Earlier, some protest organizers and politicians had accused “thugs sent by political parties” of infiltrating peaceful demos to spark riots and clashes with security forces.
The protests started over a rubbish collection crisis but have become a movement targeting the country’s stagnant and corrupt political class.
The demands of the protest movement, which is spearheaded by the “You Stink” campaign, have expanded beyond a solution to the waste crisis to calls for the environment minister’s resignation, new parliamentary elections and accountability for violence against protesters.
On Tuesday, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun voiced concern that the protests could descend into violence similar to the one that marred Arab Spring demonstrations in several Arab countries, warning that some parties could be “mobilizing” the protesters to achieve malicious goals.