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  • The protests began last week when demonstrators expressed outrage with the ruling elite and demanded their immediate removal.

    The protests began last week when demonstrators expressed outrage with the ruling elite and demanded their immediate removal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2019
Opinion

For ten days, Lebanon has been under protests against a political class accused of corruption, mismanagement of state finances and pushing the country toward an economic collapse unseen since the 1975-90 civil war.

Protesters poured back onto streets and squares across Lebanon on Saturday, despite army efforts to unblock roads, with no end in sight to a crisis that has virtually shut down the nation for the past 10 days as demonstrators demand the government leaders resign. 

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Army and security commanders met to plan ways to re-open main highways and get traffic flowing again while “safeguarding the safety of protesters”, the military said in a statement. But people have closed routes with barriers, sit-ins and mass gatherings demanding the government officials step down.

For ten days, Lebanon has been under protests against a political class accused of corruption, mismanagement of state finances and pushing the country toward an economic collapse unseen since the 1975-90 civil war.

“We won’t leave the streets because this is the only card that people can pressure with,” Yehya al-Tannir told Reuters, an actor protesting at a makeshift barricade on a main bridge in the capital Beirut. “We won’t leave until our demands are met.”

Near the northern city of Tripoli, the Lebanese army said it fired into the air during a protest. Five soldiers and a number of civilians were injured, it said.

On a main bridge in Beirut, riot police scuffled with protesters who were sitting on the ground to keep it closed. 

The protests began last week as outrage by the people against the ruling elite has grown, demanding their immediate removal. “I am ready to meet your representatives who have your concerns, to listen to your specific demands,” said Lebanese President Michel Aoun in a television address Saturday.

He said there was “a need to review the current government,” hinting a reshuffle could be in the cards.

Aoun also vowed that those who have stolen public wealth would be held to account and looted money returned.

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