Civil Defense volunteers celebrate Parliament's approval of a bill to grant them full-time employment on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Parliament approved Wednesday a draft law to grant Civil Defense volunteers full-time employment, as public sector workers across Lebanon went on strike to pressure lawmakers to pass a wage hike proposal in their two-day legislative session.Earlier in the day, one group of Civil Defense volunteers gathered on the Ramlet al-Baida beach, linking hands as they plunged into the sea in a symbolic act of defiance, as others demonstrated outside Parliament demanding the passage of the law.Information Ministry contract workers also held a small protest in the capital, demanding Parliament passes a draft law to grant them full-time employment.In protest of the Parliament's delay in addressing their demands, the state-run National News Agency also suspended activity for a full day to pressure lawmakers to pass a law that would turn contract workers with the Information Ministry into full time employees.Longtime tenants also took to the street to protest a contentious rent law passed by Parliament last week. Under the new law, rents regulated by the old rent law would increase over six years until they reach 5 percent of the current market value of the residence.
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