Nasrallah warns: Protests can lead to chaos

Hezbollah leader welcomes achievements of anti-tax protests in Lebanon, but warns that the protests could lead to chaos.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday addressed the ongoing protests in Lebanon against the cost of living and rising taxes.

In a speech, Nasrallah warned against chaos in the country, saying, "This will lead to a collapse and bankruptcy. We will not agree to that."

"The protesters have been able to prevent new taxes, and for the first time in decades, a tax-free budget has been approved - this is an achievement for everyone," continued Nasrallah, who was quoted by Channel 13 News.

He added that "we are against the resignation of the government. Chaos may lead to civil war or to a situation such as what is occurring in neighboring countries. I am scared for the country, that someone from outside will take the country and create social tension in it and bring it into civil war."

"I call on the protesters: open the blocked roads so people can resume their normal lives," Nasrallah continued. "Keep demonstrating - but without blocking roads.”

"The protest includes parties that are trying to direct it, elements that want to create a political vacuum in Lebanon. The protesters must know that some of their leaders are corrupt themselves,” he warned.

Immediately following the conclusion of Nasrallah's speech, according to Channel 13 News, Hezbollah activists in the Dahiya neighborhood of Beirut and throughout Lebanon came out in mass numbers to show support for the leader and his positions.

The protests were initially started in response to what has become known as the “WhatsApp Tax”, which would have seen a 20-cent daily fee being charged for messaging app users. The tax was later scrapped but the protests have continued and have morphed into a cross-sectarian street mobilization against a political system seen as corrupt and broken.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday presented a package of reforms, including cutting ministerial salaries, but the rallies have continued, crippling Beirut and other major cities.

On Thursday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun offered to meet with the protesters, who immediately rejected his offer.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)