BEIRUT (Reuters) - Supporters of caretaker prime minister Saad al-Hariri accused Hezbollah on Monday of carrying out a coup to put Lebanon’s premiership under Iranian control, and called for a protest “day of anger” on Tuesday.
“As for the coup that Hezbollah is carrying out, it is an attempt to put the office of prime minister under the control of Wilayat al Fakih (Iran’s clerical authority),” they said in a statement.
Any figure who accepts the nomination from Hezbollah to form a new government will be considered a “traitor” to his people, they added. Hezbollah, a Shi‘ite militant group, and its allies brought down Hariri’s unity government earlier this month.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that if the prime ministerial candidate backed by his group and its allies won majority support in the assembly, he would try to form “a partnership government.”
Telecoms tycoon Najib Mikati, who is backed by Hezbollah and its allies, moved into position on Monday to lead the new government after winning support from Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
But Hariri said he and his Future Movement would not take part in a government in which Hezbollah had the upper hand.
Hundreds of Hariri supporters blocked streets on Monday in Tripoli, a mainly Sunni Muslim city in north Lebanon, calling on Mikati to withdraw his nomination.
Others in western Bekaa blocked the main road between Lebanon and Syria and burned tyres. Some streets in Beirut were also blocked.
Hezbollah and its allies plunged Lebanon into crisis by walking out of Hariri’s unity government on January 12 in a dispute over confidential indictments by a U.N.-backed tribunal which is investigating the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri, the premier’s father.
Hariri said last week that he would seek the nomination for the premiership despite pressure from Hezbollah and its allies. He said he would accept the result of consultations and would not join his supporters in taking to the streets.
Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Tim Pearce