| 31 March 2023, Friday |

Patriarch Al-Rai says Lebanese citizens not behind political deadlock

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai held on Tuesday a mass in Bkirki during which he prayed for Lebanon and for the COVID-19 global pandemic to be eradicated.

“We offer our condolences to the families of Zgharta who bid farewell to two young men today, Elias Merheb and Nehmeh Nehmeh,” Al-Rai said, adding that “they were victims of a collision with a truck that was parked on the highway without any prior signal warning that the road was blocked or that there was some kind of hazard.”

“This incident is a result of negligence. The parents and we also have lost two young men in a terrible and tragic accident.”

“We regret that all such things are happening today as the people are angry. We do stand by their side but citizens shouldn’t be punished on the roads because they’re not the ones who created problems in Lebanon nor did they impeded the formation of a government or dragged their feet in resolving financial and cabinet crises,” he said.

“Lebanese citizens are paying a double price; one for their needs and another on the streets,” Patriarch Al-Rai said, reiterating that “the people should be respected so that they don’t get fed up with the country.” “We all want this country.”

Demonstrators kept blocking roadways across Lebanon on Tuesday in protest over the country’s financial meltdown and political deadlock, despite a call by President Michel Aoun for security forces to clear the obstructions.

Three people died in car accidents amidst the roadblocks on Monday, local media reported.

Local television aired a funeral in Zgharta in north Lebanon for two young men who died when they drove into a truck that was parked across a road to block traffic.

“Every person in this country has to shoulder responsibility. Let protesters go to the houses of the leaders and their palaces, not block roads,” the priest conducting the funeral told the gathering.