Protests Continue as Hassan Diab of Lebanon Threatens to Stop Work | News of the protests

Protesters blocked roads across Lebanon for the fifth day in a row, torching tires and furniture as Lebanon’s interim Prime Minister Hassan Diab threatened to step down to pressure politicians to that they form a new government.

Saturday’s renewed protests came amid anger over the collapse of the Lebanese pound, which fell to a new low of 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday. The currency crash caused a sharp rise in prices, as well as delays in the arrival of fuel deliveries, leading to more prolonged power cuts across the country, in some areas of more than 12 hours a day.

In the Lebanese capital, a small group of protesters outside the banking association demanded access to their deposits, then walked to the Parliament building in downtown Beirut to express their frustration.

About 50 protesters burned tires in Martyrs Square in central Beirut.

“The dollar is worth 10,500 [pounds] and everyone has four or five children around their necks, including their parents. They (corrupt politicians) have to feed us, ”one protester shouted.

In Tripoli, the poorest city in Lebanon, protesters blocked several roads and staged a sit-in at a roundabout near the city’s port, calling for the resignation of all politicians, according to the National Agency. official press release. Protesters also blocked roads connecting the cities of Tripoli, Minnieh and Akkar, using trucks, water tanks, garbage containers and stones, ANI reported.

Protesters burn tires to close main road, after Lebanese pound hits record low against dollar on black market, Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday March 6, 2021 [Hassan Ammar/ AP]

The financial crisis in Lebanon, which erupted in 2019, has pushed nearly half of the population of six million people into poverty, wiped out jobs and savings, and reduced the purchasing power of consumers. A new cabinet could implement the reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars in international aid.

The country has been rudderless since August, when Diab’s cabinet resigned following the explosion in the port of Beirut which devastated parts of the capital. Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri was appointed in October but failed to form a new cabinet due to the political stalemate with President Michel Aoun.

‘What are you waiting for?’

In a televised speech on Saturday, Diab threatened to suspend his guardian duties, warning that the country was headed quickly for chaos if politicians could not put aside their differences and form a new government.

“If the isolation helps in the formation of the cabinet, I am ready to resort to it, even if it goes against my convictions because it disrupts the whole state and harms the Lebanese,” said Diab.

“What are you waiting for, more collapse?” No more suffering? More chaos? He said, berating senior politicians without naming them for growing in the shape and size of government as the country slips further into the abyss.

“What will have a minister more or less [in the cabinet] do if the whole country collapses, ”he asked.

“Lebanon is in grave danger and the Lebanese are paying the price.”

Lebanon’s Acting Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks at the Government Palace in Beirut, Lebanon, March 6, 2021 [Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters]

Over the past year, Lebanon has seen a popular uprising against its political leaders, state and banking system bankruptcy, a COVID-19 pandemic and, in August, a massive explosion that killed 200 people. and destroyed parts of Beirut.

The collapse of the Lebanese pound on Tuesday was the last straw for many who have seen the prices of consumer goods such as diapers and grains almost triple since the start of the crisis.

“Isn’t the milk rush a sufficient incentive to transcend formalities and rough edges to form a government?” Diab said, referring to a recent incident at a supermarket in Beirut in which buyers argued over powdered milk.

A video of the feud has gone viral on social media, highlighting the desperate state of the economy.

“Social conditions are worsening, financial conditions are straining the country, political conditions are increasingly complex,” added the acting Prime Minister.

“The country faces enormous challenges that a normal government cannot cope with without political consensus, so how can an interim government cope with these challenges?”

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