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Protests continue to grip Lebanon for third day

Protests continue to grip Lebanon for third day

DPA
Beirut
Roads across Lebanon remained closed on Saturday as demonstrators took to the streets for a third day of protests denouncing the government’s economic plans.
Some major roads leading to Beirut from south and north Lebanon were still blocked by tyres burnt in the protests.
In the capital, dozens of protesters started gathering in an area near the governmental palace, where riot police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators late Friday and arrested people for damaging shop facades and burning rubbish bins.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday gave a 72-hour deadline to his partners in government to agree on a solution to the economic crisis.
Lebanese have been suffering from dire economic conditions in the heavily indebted country and from tax hikes, with anti-government protests erupting several times in recent months. Lebanon is under pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to take austerity measures in return for financial support.
The country has one of the biggest public debt ratios in the world, equivalent to about 150 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose movement has ministers in government, warned Saturday that changing the current government will not be a solution.
“Stop reaching in the pockets of the poor to find solutions for the economic crisis, stop instead corruption and embezzlements,” Nasrallah said.
Addressing the protesters, Nasrallah said “we respect your screams and your messages have been delivered.”   He vowed his ministers will not allow any new taxes on the Lebanese, especially the poor.  Nasrallah, who is a major ally of President Michel Aoun, called on all politicians to take their responsibilities and start working to save Lebanon. But Nasrallah’s comments did not convince the protesters. Instead, more roads were closed.

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