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Crackdown no crime :

Speaker emerges from silence to back Lahoud Saturday
September 01, 2001 (Daily Star)


Speaker emerges from silence to back Lahoud Saturday, September 01, 2001 (Daily Star)
Berri: 'Crackdown no crime'
Speaker Nabih Berri vowed on Friday that the Parliament would be the first to fight any attempt to set up a military regime in the country, but cautioned the opposition against spreading false accusations that undermined the credibility of the military.
Emerging from the conspicuous silence he had maintained during the recent political crisis, despite a hint of support for President Emile Lahoud, Berri admitted that Parliament had courted the head of state when it endorsed on August 13 amendments to the Criminal Procedures Law that he had demanded. But he insisted that this was no crime and the vote was taken in accordance with the law, rejecting accusations from the opposition, led by his maverick ally, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, that the vote constituted a bloodless coup to strengthen the grip of the president and the military establishment on the legislature.
Berri spoke at a massive rally in Bint Jbeil to mark the 23rd anniversary of the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr while on a visit to Libya. Tens of thousands of people converged on the towns sports stadium for the event, organized by the Amal Movement, which Sadr founded and Berri now heads.
Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi and Zionism are two faces of the same coin read banners hoisted in the streets of Bint Jbeil.
People flocked to the festival area since early morning. By 3pm, the huge open field had been filled, and there were no seats left under the giant tent. Lahoud sent Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares to represent him at the event, while Prime Minister Rafik Hariri dispatched Finance Minister Fouad Siniora. In their speeches, they appealed for help to shed light on Sadrs fate.