Lebanon News

Day 48: Protests outside state institutions

Demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in the northern Lebanese town of Amioun near the port city of Tripoli on November 8, 2019. AFP / Ibrahim CHALHOUB

BEIRUT: Protesters in north Lebanon and Beirut Tuesday gathered outside state institutions, marking the 48th day of nationwide protests.

Around 2 p.m., people gathered outside the Central Bank's headquarters in Beirut and in Tripoli's Al-Nour Square - the regular site of protests since Oct. 17.

In Akkar, protesters gathered outside state institutions and called for their closure.

“Even after 48 days, authorities are yet to address people’s demands,” on protester said.

Earlier in the day, protesters in Tripoli attempted to block some roads.

Trash bins, rocks and barriers were used to block some roads inside the city, causing heavy traffic, according to the state-run National News Agency.

The Lebanese Army arrived shortly after the roads were blocked, reopening all of them.

Lebanese University students protested outside the university’s campus in Bohssas, on Tripoli’s southern entrance. The students sat on the ground, preventing cars from going inside the campus, the NNA reported.

Tuesday’s road-blocking in Tripoli came after protesters closed off road in north Lebanon’s Minyeh and Naameh, south of Beirut, Monday night. Two roads in Beirut were also briefly blocked.

Protesters in Naameh blocked the road with burning tires to protest against the deteriorating economic situation and price hikes.

The Lebanese Army issued a statement Tuesday saying that protesters hit soldiers with rocks and wounded them as they attempted to reopen.

The Army said they fired in the air to disperse the protesters after one person shot with a gun he had. It was not clear if the person shot at the Army or in the air.

Protesters have been taking to the streets since Oct. 17, demanding the formation of a technocratic government to address Lebanon’s deteriorating economic situation.

Saad Hariri resigned from his post as premier on Oct. 29, bringing down the government with him. Recent protests have demanded that President Michel Aoun calls for consultations with lawmakers, a constitutionally-required step to name a new prime minister.

On Monday evening, protesters in Jounieh visited several Kesrouan MPs, gathering signatures on a list of demands, including the formation of a technocratic government.

This demand has been opposed by the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and Amal Movement.

MP Chamel Roukoz was the first to sign the petition after protesters visited his office. Roukoz is Aoun’s son-in-law and has reportedly been absent from meeting held by FPM’s Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc.

The bloc is headed by FPM leader Gebran Bassil, who is also Aoun’s son-in-law.

Protesters then headed to MP Neemat Frem’s residence.

After signing the petition, Frem called for parliamentary consultations to be held soon. He added that the formation of a technocratic government would help set an economic plan for the country.

MP Chawki Daccache, who also signed the petition after being visited by protesters, expressed support for the group’s demands.

 

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