Spontaneous protest hounds former Lebanese PM from concert

By Ayat Basma BEIRUT (Reuters) - Outraged concert-goers shouting 'revolution, revolution' hounded former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora from a Christmas concert at the American University of Beirut on Sunday night. Lebanese politicians past and present have been the focus of weeks of demonstrations demanding the end to a governing elite blamed for years of misrule and Siniora's presence at the concert set off a spontaneous protest. Siniora, an alumnus of the university, sat impassively on the front row as audience members erupted in chorus against him but eventually bowed to the pressure and left the concert hall with his bodyguards

Reuters December 17, 2019 00:14:11 IST
Spontaneous protest hounds former Lebanese PM from concert

Spontaneous protest hounds former Lebanese PM from concert

By Ayat Basma

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Outraged concert-goers shouting "revolution, revolution" hounded former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora from a Christmas concert at the American University of Beirut on Sunday night.

Lebanese politicians past and present have been the focus of weeks of demonstrations demanding the end to a governing elite blamed for years of misrule and Siniora's presence at the concert set off a spontaneous protest.

Siniora, an alumnus of the university, sat impassively on the front row as audience members erupted in chorus against him but eventually bowed to the pressure and left the concert hall with his bodyguards.

"How dare they have the nerve to come to a concert when they know that people hate them. How dare they?" Terese, a retired teacher, told Reuters. "We started chanting: revolution, revolution, Siniora get out ... He didn't budge."

A performance by composer and pianist Guy Manoukian was interrupted by the uproar from the audience though once Siniora had left, the concert began in earnest.

Siniora later sent a tweet saying history would prove that he had always worked in Lebanon's interests though he may have made some mistakes.

Before serving as prime minister from 2005 to 2008, Siniora was a long-time finance minister. He was questioned last month by a state prosecutor over how $11 billion in government funds was spent while he was in power.

His office has said the spending was entirely legal.

Show of irreverence towards senior figures such as Siniora who have long commanded respect has broken taboos in Lebanon, setting the current wave of demonstrations apart from previous dissent.

The presence of Siniora, a former banker and one of the country's wealthy elite, showed indifference to the suffering of many people, some concert-goers said.

"Politicians should understand that they have become distanced from the people," said Maestro Barkev Taslakian, conductor of Al Fayhaa Choir.

Many Lebanese politicians have avoided public gatherings for fear of being targeted by angry protesters. One audience member said it was a blatant provocation for of a leading member of the establishment to attend the concert.

"They cannot ignore what's happening and attend and then pretend that actually they are not to blame," said entrepreneur Bahe Ghobril.

Others said music should be left out of Lebanon's deepening political divisions and economic woes.

"This is a cultural, artistic event and the revolution should be outside of these doors," one of the organisers said during the uproar.

(Reporting by Ayat Basma; Editing by David Clarke)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses
World

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses

(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules
World

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules

WARSAW (Reuters) - A skating rink owner in the Polish city of Szczecin believes he has found a way to keep his business open despite coronavirus restrictions - operate as a flower shop instead. His plan is simple - the customer has to purchase access to the flower "warehouse", then chooses from a box of flowers in the middle of the rink. "You can jump, crawl or go on all fours ..

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg
World

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg

By Reuters Staff SANAA (Reuters) - Paralysed and severely malnourished, seven-year-old Faid Samim lies curled up on a hospital bed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, having barely survived the journey there.  "He was almost gone when he arrived but thank God we were able to do what was necessary and he started improving. He is suffering from CP (cerebral palsy) and severe malnutrition," said Rageh Mohammed, the supervising doctor of the Al-Sabeen hospital's malnutrition ward.