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    11-Feb-2020

Lebanese Protest ahead of Confidence Vote Session

 

Nahar.Net

 

Demonstrators from various Lebanese regions thronged the streets on Tuesday to protest against a Parliament session dedicated to holding a confidence vote for the new government and discuss the Policy Statement.
 
Protesters have rejected the new government of PM Hassan Diab and have been rallying in several Lebanese areas and in Downtown Beirut chanting “No confidence” slogans. They also denounced a class of political leaders they deem incompetent and corrupt.
 
The meeting is being held amid a crippling economic and financial crisis, Lebanon's worst in decades. Police threw a tight security dragnet around the area, and special forces and riot policemen quickly opened roads that were closed by protesters trying to prevent Cabinet ministers and legislators from reaching parliament.
 
Some lawmakers spent the night in parliament to thwart protesters who have successfully prevented several sessions since they launched their campaign in October last year.
 
"No confidence," chanted some of the protesters. The meeting is scheduled to begin before noon and last until Wednesday.
 
Clashes broke out between security forces and demonstrators who brought down huge cement blocks and were sprayed with water cannons and tear gas.
 
Security Forces demanded protesters to keep demonstrations “peaceful” away from rioting, and to stay away from cement blocks and barbed wire blocking roads to the Parliament building in Nejmeh square.
 
The Lebanese army also issued a statement saying “riots and infringement on public and private property distorts the demands and do not fall into the category of expression of opinion.”
 
A group of protesters surrounded the car of one Cabinet minister, Demianos Qattar, as he was on his way to the nearby government headquarters, pelting it with eggs pounding it with their fists before an army and police force pushed them away.
 
Lebanon has been gripped by anti-government protests since October. Demonstrators are calling for sweeping reforms and an end to a political class they deem as corrupt and incompetent, blaming it for the rapidly worsening financial crisis. The protests forced the resignation of the former prime minister, Saad Hariri.
 
New Prime Minister Hassan Diab is expected to read new government's policy statement, which includes a rescue plan to try get Lebanon out of its economic and financial crisis, the worst since the end of the country's 1975-90 civil war.
 
Security forces fired tear gas in another street leading to parliament, where protesters were able to remove part of a giant concrete wall. In other streets, troops forced protesters from the middle of the street to allow traffic to flow.
 
According to a copy of the government policy statement published by local media, it includes an "emergency rescue plan" and reforms in the judicial, financial and administrative fields, as well as fighting corruption and fixing the country's finances.
 
Lebanon has one of the highest debt ratios in the world, standing at more than 150 of the GDP and worsening over the past years with no economic growth and high unemployment.
 
 

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