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French Version

Protesters express mixed views on PM appointment

Many oppose another karami era

While some protesters at Martyrs' Square Wednesday saw no problem in outgoing Prime Minister Omar Karami's potential reappointment, others opposed the idea of any pro-Syrian figure to head the new government.

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Boutros Fadel, 41, from the Lebanese National Liberal Party (LNLP) and who has been camping out at Martyrs' Square for over a week, said: "We oppose Karami's reappointment as he is part of the pro-Syrian regime. However, he won't and can't affect our will and determination to free Lebanon from the Syrians."

He added: "Karami resigned to calm protesters down, like giving them a morphine injection. It won't work and the cure to the virus which entered Lebanon in 1976 is UN Resolution 1559."

Charbel Jarjour, also an LNLP member, said: "We will back any government which works on sovereignty, freedom and independence. We want someone who won't be afraid of telling us who killed [former Premier] Rafik Hariri."

For others, Karami's reappointment was a true disappointment. Nevertheless, they said they will continue to sleep in their tents until they find out who murdered Hariri.

Sitting under Martyrs' Statue, Ralph Murad, 17, said: "It saddens us to hear that Karami, whom we forced to resign a week ago, will be reappointed again. They brought us back to point zero, as if nothing has changed. We will stay until the truth is told."

Community members who have been providing the protesters with supplies for the past few weeks were also shocked to hear of Karami's potential reappointment.

Farid Fakhreddine, 38, a supporter of the protests, said: "They brought us back to the same old story ignoring the progress we have accomplished through the last 23 days of protests and demonstrations. It is like running on a treadmill ... but we will keep on running."

Other protesters expressed no disappointment or opposition to Karami's reappointment, as long as he leads the Lebanese to "truth, freedom and independence."

Progressive Socialist Party member Hassan Halabi, 28, said: "We don't care about who gets appointed; we want a prime minister and a government that will tell us the truth without any fear."

He added: "However, Karami is the only one who would accept heading a government in this situation, or maybe he is forced to. That is not the issue. We want to know the truth and then build a new Lebanon."

Daoud al-Halabi, 31, also a PSP member, said: "Karami cannot head the government now and succeed as it will be Syria's puppet. Any pro-Syrian prime minister will fail but our protest will last till we achieve the opposition's demands."

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Beirut 10-03-2005
Nada Bakri
The Daily Star

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