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Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:31 GMT

Riot Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Downtown Beirut


7Dnews London

Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:45 GMT

Riot police forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Beirut on Friday, October 18th after they tried to push through security barriers around the government headquarters and set fire to a nearby building, according to Lebanese media outlets.

Demonstrators were seen choking from the tear gas and asking army soldiers for help, according to Reuters.

Two Reuters witnesses reportedly saw some protesters, including some who were hooded, smashing facades and benches.

A mass of protesters marched to President Michel Aoun's palace in the suburbs of Baabda, demanding the government resign and be held accountable for the deteriorating economy and infrastructure in Lebanon.

Protesters, according to Lebanese news outlets, were also seen pelting security forces at the Presidential Palace with rocks and water bottles.

For the second day, nationwide protests in Lebanon blocked roads and burned tyres as tempers flared against Lebanon’s political elite, whom protesters accuse of looting the country’s economic resources.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri gave a 72-hour deadline on Friday to his "partners in government" to stop obstructing reforms and threatened to take a different approach otherwise.

The main reasons for the demonstrations are the soaring inflation rate, new tax proposals, and the high cost of living. Moreover, a new government plan to impose fees on WhatsApp voice calls added fuel to the fire and further angered citizens.

The government had announced a $0.20 (£0.16) daily charge on voice calls made through WhatsApp and other apps; however, the decision was scrapped later amid wide protests, the biggest seen in Lebanon for years.

Middle East