BEIRUT: Taxi and truck drivers held a protest Monday demanding the government increase their social security benefits and enact the national transportation plan, as Lebanon braces for more protests this week.
The protesters drove slowly from Dora Highway and Cola roundabout to Riad Solh Square where they held a sit-in, causing heavy traffic on the Beirut highway.
Dozens of drivers gathered at several meeting points to kick off the protest around 11 a.m.
Fuel truck drivers along with bus drivers also took part in the protest called for by the Unions of Land Transportation to pressure the government to meet their long-standing demands.
Bassam Tleis, the head of the confederation of public drivers and transport unions, said the government should apply the law and address drivers' demands.
“We don't have many demands but we only have one demand and that is for the government to respect its own decisions and implement them,” Tleis said during the protest.
“The government has not yet begun implementing the transportation plan it approved,” he added.
“Drivers should be equal to other people registered with the NSSF and should have similar family benefits,” he said.
Tleis also noted that the government was failing to prosecute violators, end the rising phenomenon of unlicensed taxis and apply the law with regards to foreign taxi drivers.
He also vowed to carry out more steps in the coming weeks to further pressure the government.
Meanwhile, the Air Transport Association announced it will stop work at Beirut airport between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday in solidarity with the strike planned by the Union Coordination Committee, which represents teachers and civil servants.
The protesters will hold a protest in Beirut Wednesday to demand Parliament pass a controversial draft law to raise their salaries.
Lawmakers have been unable to approve and pass the proposal in light of disagreements over means to finance the proposal which is estimated to cost the treasury some $1.6 billion.
Private and public school teachers have warned they would boycott correcting final examinations to escalate the protest and further pressure MPs to pass the draft law.