Lebanese Security Uses Tear Gas as Hundreds of Protesters Storm Government HQ

Hundreds of protesters, including many veterans and police, marched in downtown Beirut on Wednesday to protest against Lebanon’s deteriorating economy. When demonstrators breached fences and attempted to storm the government headquarters building, security forces used tear gas to disperse them, and some demonstrators responded by throwing stones.

Lebanon is in the midst of years of political and economic crisis, and the situation seems to be getting worse. The government’s power is split between stalemated factions, one of which is the Iran-backed Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah. President Michelle Aoun left office in October, not yet it is exchanged.

Central Lebanon under investigation By European authorities for money laundering.Investigation into the dreaded August 2020 explosion wiped Much of Beirut Port is a farce. condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Council in early March.

A helicopter fights fires at the site of an explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR/AFP of him via Getty Images)

Poverty reached crisis levels long ago in Lebanon. The state power company only provides him with electricity for about three hours a day, so Lebanese families give more than half of their meager income to the power company. buy Power From expensive black market generators.Lebanese currency is depreciation It hit an all-time low on Tuesday, losing £20,000 against the US dollar in a single day at an alarming rate.

Wednesday’s protesters included retirees and outraged retirees who will be unable to access their accounts due to bank emergency measures, as the country’s currency would likely collapse entirely if Lebanese were allowed to withdraw money from banks. , which included retirees outraged by depreciation costs eating up their pensions.

“I used to earn about $4,000, but now my pension is worth $150. Said Agence France-Presse (AFP) From the scene of the protest.

“I’m being forced to be a vegetarian. How am I going to live? My pension is $150, but my generator bill is $200,” said a retired teacher. .

“I am unemployed and sell furniture to support my family,” said a retiree with five children.

AFP said grocers were pricing food in US dollars because the Lebanese pound had become so worthless. Pharmacies have closed permanently as they no longer have access to the drugs they sell. Fuel distributors are demanding that governments convert their prices into dollars to protect themselves from constantly declining exchange rates. As it stands, a 20 liter gas can costs around £2.4 million.

Protesters stand in the background of the Lebanese Central Bank building as anti-government demonstrators rally against Central Bank Governor Riyad Salameh and the deepening financial crisis in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, October 5, 2022. throws a bottle glass. The banking sector has been hit hard by the country's historic economic collapse, suffering staggering losses worth tens of billions of dollars, leaving the future of lenders in this tiny country unknown between closures and mergers. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Protesters throw bottles at the Lebanese Central Bank building as anti-government protesters rally against Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riyad Salameh and the deepening financial crisis in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, October 5, 2022. . (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Lebanon’s problems are widely blamed on the corruption and incompetence of the political class. “Is this how they want the month of Ramadan to come? Where are the lawmakers? What are they doing about this? What have we done to deserve their corruption?” protestor Said to Arab News.

Arab News said representatives of Lebanon’s general trade union were talking about launching a “comprehensive strike” that would hit the fragile economy like a wrecking ball. He said government officials would be forced to “address the abnormal depreciation of the exchange rate, resulting in higher prices for commodities.”

The security forces are nervous. New hardships and insults could be the last straw, and any of the frequent protests could escalate into something even worse. As Wednesday’s demonstrators arrived at the government headquarters building known as the Grand Serail in Beirut, police decided: break up Marching with tear gas. Protesters threw stones at police and clashed at point-blank range.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Thursday that Lebanon was in a “very dangerous situation”. Public unrest, the political class’s refusal to implement necessary reforms, and the government’s continued heavy borrowing from the central bank.

“To anyone who has watched Lebanon over the past four years, an IMF program seems highly unlikely. There is no urgency, no incentive, no pressure on decision makers to implement fundamental reforms. said financial expert Mike Azar. Said Reuters After an IMF warning was issued.

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