Lebanese President Michel Aoun pleaded with citizens Thursday night to not return to the violence of the civil war following a deadly shooting in Beirut.
“It is not acceptable for arms to return as a language of communication between the Lebanese parties because we all agreed to turn this dark page from our history,” said Aoun in a speech, as reported by the official National News Agency.
On Thursday, six people were fatally shot at a protest in Beirut. The demonstration was organized by the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah and Amal groups against the government’s investigation into the 2020 Beirut port explosion. Hezbollah blamed the Christian group Lebanese Forces for the shooting, though its leader condemned the incident.
The attack reminded many Lebanese of the civil war fought in the country from 1975 to 1990. The shooting occurred near the site of the 1975 bus massacre, which occurred when Christian forces shot and killed Palestinians traveling via bus through Beirut. The event is considered to be the start of the war, and Thursday’s shooting stoked fears of new violence.
The situation was calm in Beirut on Friday. Hezbollah held mass funeral processions for their members killed in the attack.
Aoun said that the violence was “painful and unacceptable” and that freedom of expression is “the only valid reference for dealing with any problem.”