Would you like to make English your default language, on this site? |
BEIRUT – Despite the cancellation of numerous celebrations in Lebanon due to events in Gaza, the Lebanese greeted the New Year as snow covered areas above 700 metres. No security incidents were recorded, prompting government head Fouad Siniora to congratulate Director General of Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi for a job well done.
The highlight of the celebration was the return of life to the centre of Beirut after the opposition's strike came to an end. The strike had paralysed business for 18 months and caused disruption to business interests along with the closure of roads, restaurants and nightclubs.
Hundreds of Lebanese gathered in Nejmeh Square in the centre of the city cheering and launching fireworks to welcome the New Year as nearby restaurants filled up with people. Contributing to the spirit of fun and singing were earlier events including the functioning once again of constitutional institutions, election of a new president, reconvening of Parliament and establishment of a national unity government based on political agreements reached in Qatar. These positive developments were reflected by the large number of Arab and foreign tourists, including Lebanese expatriates, who were in Lebanon to mark the New Year.
Despite the relative calm and a reduction in the number of assassinations, many Lebanese politicians chose to stay at home or to spend the holiday with friends and not expose themselves to danger in the run up to parliamentary elections. The elections will determine the majority and minority parties in the next Parliament and also establish who will lead Lebanon in the coming four years.
[Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation]