January 5, 2021
Protesters burned posters of the slain leader of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in Beirut and raised the photos of late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and President Bashir Gemayel, according to videos circulated on social media.
This comes amid a wave of anger at pro-Iran stances by some politicians on the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination.
On Saturday, unidentified people burned posters of the Iranian commander on the Brital highway (eastern Lebanon). A dispute also erupted between supporters of Hezbollah and the Communist Party in the town of Adloun in southern Lebanon, during which photos of the leaders of the two parties were torn down.
A photo, widely shared on social media, showed a bust of Soleimani, which was to be erected by the municipality of Ghobeiry in Beirut’s southern suburb. A number of young men also hanged a poster of Soleimani on the “Fist of the Revolution” – the symbol of the Lebanese uprising – in Martyrs’ Square in central Beirut, which activists described as a provocative act by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah commemorated Soleimani’s death with several activities, in addition to naming streets and public spaces in southern and eastern Lebanon after the slain Iranian leader.
Meanwhile, comments by IRGC Air Force Commander Ali Hajizadeh that “the missile capabilities of Gaza and Lebanon are the front line to confront Israel” continued to stir controversy in Lebanon.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stated that the media falsified the comments.
The head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, Sami Gemayel, warned that the Iranian statements put Lebanon as the front line for Iran in its permanent struggle with the whole world.
“[Hezbollah’s] weapons do not protect Lebanon, but rather expose it to an economic blockade and military adventures,” Gemayel said on Twitter.