Lebanon News

Taxi drivers protest gas station strike, cars run out of fuel

Taxi drivers protest gas station strike as they run out of fuel in Beirut, Nov. 29, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Taxi drivers blocked most of the road in Beirut Friday in protest of the strike by gas stations, saying they are out of fuel as a number of cars stopped in the middle of roads due to lack of fuel.

Over 50 drivers parked their cars on the side and stood in the middle of the road in the Cola area.

“I don’t have work. There is no fuel and no customers,” one driver told a local television station.

The protesting drivers kept one lane open for cars. They stopped taxis passing through the area and asked the customers to leave the vehicles and the drivers to join them.

“Everyone has political affiliations and interests, but hunger has no [religion],” another driver said.

Cars in Beirut, Tripoli and other areas stopped in the middle of the road claiming they ran out of fuel. At least two cars stopped at Corniche al-Mazraa, near a closed gas station.

The Syndicate of Gas Station Owners called for an open-ended strike earlier this week, citing losses due to the high unofficial exchange rate of the Lebanese pound to the dollar. Most gas stations across the country have been closed since Thursday.

A dollar liquidity crunch has meant that importers of products such as fuel, medicine and food have struggled to obtain the currency required to purchase goods at the official pegged rate of LL1,507.5 to the dollar. Unofficial rates exceeded LL2,300 to the dollar Thursday, before suddenly declining to about LL1,750. Many exchange offices closed Friday in response to a call for strike by the exchange offices syndicate.

 

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