Hariri: Lebanese government to stay in power despite sit-in
Parliament's majority leader Saad Hariri said Friday that Premier Fuad Saniora's government would not relinquish power in the face of a massive sit-in by opposition protesters.
"The government of Saniora will not fall due to pressure from the street," Hariri said in an interview with the Washington-funded Al-Hurra television. "However long they continue their protest, it will not fall," he said.
Around one million protesters, led by Hizbullah and supported by Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun, took the streets of central Beirut Friday calling for the government to quit. The protesters camped out in central Beirut on Saturday on the second day of demonstration.
Protesters pitched tents near central Beirut's Martyrs' Square and on streets leading to the government's headquarters, where the prime minister and several of his cabinet ministers holed up inside.
Hariri hailed the conduct of the opposition protest, saying he was "happy that part of the Lebanese people managed to demonstrate democratically without disturbing the peace." "We were apprehensive but all went well," he said.
In the interview, Hariri was asked how Friday's demonstrations differed from the widespread protests that followed his father's death. "Those demonstrations were different from today," he said. "There used to be a Syrian security regime that was responsible for the murder of my father."