Thousands of people return to the streets in Beirut for the fourth day in a row to protest the economic situation in Lebanon. The demonstrators are calling for their government to resign. Prime Minister Hariri must quickly find a way out of the crisis.
After the heavy protests in Lebanon with burning barricades and roadblocks, thousands of people in the capital Beirut took to the streets again because of the economic crisis. The demonstrators gathered with flags of state at the government palace and shouted "revolution, revolution."
The police and military were increasingly deployed there for fear of possible riots. Several roads were blocked. There were also some demonstrations in the south of the country. In the evening, the leader of the right-wing Lebanese forces, Samir Geagea, announced the immediate resignation of all four ministers of his party from the Cabinet.
The protests are directed against the political leadership, who accuse critics of wasting public money and corruption. They had started on Thursday and led to the closure of schools and businesses. Part of the rioters beat shop windows. The government announcement made it unlikely that it would charge $ 0.20 a day to use communication services such as WhatsApp to make calls.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri tried to quickly find a way out of the crisis in meetings with representatives of various parties. On Friday he had already promised improvements and gave his political partners 72 hours to look for solutions. Some demonstrators called for early parliamentary elections. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that a change of government would not solve the crisis. "Stop grabbing the pockets of the poor," he said on TV. Hezbollah, which has several ministers in government, will not allow new taxes. "We have previously warned them with minor protests, but now the majority of the Lebanese are annoyed, maybe even all of them.
Excessive force on the part of the security forces
We are all in debt," one said protester. Activist Ammar Abud said the people have realized that protests are their only means of changing things. "We stay here until there are changes," said another demonstrator.
The human rights organization Amnesty International criticized security forces for using excessive force to "end an overwhelmingly peaceful protest." The police have used large amounts of tear gas and hunted down protesters with drawn weapons in alleys, Amnesty said.
The NNA reported that all demonstrators arrested on Friday in Beirut were released. According to activists, about 40 people were arrested there. The small country with 6.8 million inhabitants is struggling with an economic and financial crisis. The national debt is 86 billion US dollars (more than 77 billion euros), which corresponds to a quota of about 150 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). It is one of the highest debt ratios worldwide.