25th October, 2019
Harris Park, Sydney: On the evening of Thursday 24th of October, a Mass was held at our Lady of Lebanon Church by Archbishop Antoine Tarabay in the presence of former Minister and current Lebanese Presidential Advisor Dr Pierre Raffoul.
The mass was held in the spirit of seeing Lebanon peacefully through its current crisis, but that was not on the minds of protesters outside the church. In the video below, partisans of the Lebanese Forces Party (formerly a militia with a bloodstained past mired in illicit activities) can be seen arguing with the priest and insisting to protest against what was happening inside.
At the end of the mass when the Minister was leaving, protesters attempted to storm his motorcade and scuffles broke out sending the protesters back until police arrived and questioned a number of them as they attempted to locate those responsible for the fracas.
Dr Raffoul (an Australian who used to live in Sydney), went on to meet with members of the Lebanese community at another location to brief them on the ambitious and optimistic reform plan of the President; where financial secrecy and immunity will be lifted of all present and previous Presidents, Cabinet Ministers, MPs and high-level public servants. The President has further requested the protests to continue until the reforms are implemented and corruption is uprooted; giving the judiciary all the cover of his office so that it can independently carry out its work.
Militias have struggled with adapting to post war life in Lebanon as political parties. They have been a major force of obstruction against any initiatives proposed by the reformists in order to get Lebanon’s sluggish economy moving forward.
In the last week, protests have flared up across Lebanon demanding the implementation of reforms and better living conditions. Certain parties who were involved in the obstruction of reforms have tried to ride the wave of people’s frustrations and blame the last 40 years of corruption on Lebanon’s President who is only 3 years into his 6 year term in office. Although he has made tremendous strides in bettering the situation in the country despite the former militias and old ruling class fighting him every step of the way; both he and the protesters are frustrated at the situation in the country.
The United Australian Lebanese Movement