An official from the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) was shot and died on Tuesday night when a new wave of protests erupted, becoming the first casualty of Lebanon’s nearly month-long demonstration, reported Lebanese local media.
An army statement said that the killing occurred when a soldier fired warning shots, trying to disperse the protests, on Tuesday evening. However, one of the shots hit Abou Fakher, a member of the PSP. The statement also added that an investigation has been opened following the soldier’s arrest.
The killing of Fakher could escalate the already tense situation in Lebanon. On Tuesday, before the killing of Fakher, a new wave of demonstrations had erupted, in a response to President Michel Aoun’s speech, which was seen as provocative.
In an hour-long televised address, Aoun said “If people aren’t satisfied with any of these decent leaders, let them immigrate,” in which he urged protesters to be patient, but his comments prompted the protesters to block roads and main highways linking Tripoli to Sidon.
In a statement, the Lebanese presidency said that Aoun’s comments were swiftly taken out of context.
After Aoun’s remarks, thousands of protesters took to the streets, blocking roads and state institutions as demonstrations entered their 27th day in an attempt to force officials to achieve their demands.
Although the protesters have been demanding for a full and independent government made up of technocrats, Aoun signaled that the new government will be a “techno-political one.”