News ID: 291474
Published: 0331 GMT March 09, 2021

Lebanon protesters block roads over economic crisis

Lebanon protesters block roads over economic crisis

Lebanese protesters set up new roadblocks Tuesday to vent anger over political inaction in the face of a worsening economic situation, but security forces managed to reopen some to traffic.

The country has been mired in economic crisis, which has brought surging unemployment and spiraling prices while the currency has plunged to a new low to the dollar on the black market, AFP reported.

Yet the government – which formally resigned after a massive explosion in Beirut port last August that killed more than 200 people – has failed to agree on a new cabinet since.

Roadblocks have become a near daily occurrence in the small Mediterranean country and lasted all day Monday, including in and out of Beirut.

Demonstrators on Tuesday again cut off some roads in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa Valley region, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Highways leading to central Beirut were also closed, though most later reopened. Others blinked open and closed throughout the morning.

Some protesters have called for a revival of the nationwide street protests of late 2019 that demanded the removal of Lebanon's entire political class, widely seen as incompetent.

Prices have soared as the Lebanese pound has lost more than 80 percent of its value.

With foreign currency reserves dwindling fast, the authorities have warned they will soon have to lift subsidies on fuel and mostly imported food.

President Michel Aoun has called blocking roads "sabotage", but also called for authorities to prevent "the manipulation of food prices".

Despite growing anger on the streets, there have been no serious clashes between security forces and demonstrators in recent days, in contrast to previous rallies.

Lebanon's economic crisis has been aggravated by several lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, the government introduced some relaxations in the latest stay-at-home order, imposed after hospitals became overwhelmed following the winter holidays.



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