Demonstrators block a highway during a protest against the fall in Lebanese pound currency and mounting economic hardships, in Jal el-Dib, Lebanon. Reuters
Demonstrators burnt tyres to block main roads all over Lebanon for the seventh straight day on Monday in anger at more than a year of economic crisis and seven months of political paralysis.
“We have said several times that there will be an escalation because the state isn’t doing anything,” said Pascale Nohra, a protester in Jal al-Dib.”
Protests at the start of Lebanon’s financial crisis in 2019 brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets to bring down the government.
On Monday, three main roads leading south into the capital from Zouk, Jal al-Dib and al-Dawra were blocked while, in Beirut itself, protesters briefly blocked a main road in front of the central bank.
In Tyre, one man tried to burn himself by pouring gasoline on his body but civil defense stopped him in time, the state news agency said.
Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the crisis, bank accounts have been frozen and many have started to go hungry.
After an explosion devastated whole tracts of Beirut in August, the next government resigned.
But the new prime minister-designate, Saad al-Hariri, is at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun and has been unable to form a new government to carry out the reforms that would unlock billions of dollars of international aid.
Since the Lebanese pound tumbled to a new low last Tuesday, protesters have been blocking roads daily.
On Saturday, caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab threatened to quit to raise the pressure on those blocking the formation of a new government.
Diab is meeting with President Aoun, several caretaker ministers, the central bank chief and financial and security officials on Monday, the state news agency said.
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai hit out at the politicians in his Sunday sermon:
“How can the people not revolt when the price of one dollar has surpassed 10,000 Lebanese pounds in one day, how can they not revolt when the minimum wage is $70?”
Rai has called for an UN-sponsored international conference to help Lebanon.
“The Modi government has turned this protest movement into an ego issue. They are unable to see the pain of the farmers,” said Amarjeet Singh, a 68-year-old farmer from Punjab state. “They have left us no option but to protest.”
Tunisia, the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and Lebanon, a quasi-democracy where a political revolt was launched in October 2019, now face economic protests driven by coronavirus restrictions.
Lebanese seeking safety and jobs have joined the thousands risking their lives by setting sail in flimsy rafts and small boats with the aim of reaching peaceful and employment-rich shores.
The Dubai Criminal Court sentenced an Asian cleaner to three months in jail to be followed by deportation and fined him Dhs30,000 on charging of stealing Dhs30,000 from a company he was working and hiding the same in a yard near his house. The defendant was arrested after the company’s surveillance cameras caught him in the act.
“We thought it had a wound on its forehead before we found an eye and four nostrils seen by the locals who gathered in our house after it was born and gave us coconuts and flowers as gifts for the born calf,” said farmer Hemant Chandel.
Flights to six destinations will resume on Friday, and on Saturday services to Boston, Houston and San Francisco will return to Boeing 777 planes after having been changed to Airbus A380s, the Dubai-based carrier said in a statement.
Regarding the news on the suspension of some flights to certain US airports due to 5G deployment, the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has clarified that this issue is exclusively related to the relevant US airports.