Tens of thousands of people across Lebanon poured onto the streets on Friday, in the second day of mass protests against the country’s ruling elite who demonstrators accuse of looting the country into economic collapse.
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who leads a national unity government that includes rival Hezbollah, blamed his political opponents for blocking reforms to resolve the economic crisis and issued a 72-hour deadline for them cooperate otherwise he hinted that he may resign.
The boiling public anger has crossed sectarian and political lines, targeting top leaders including the president, prime minister and parliament speaker who protesters blame for years of corruption and economic mismanagement. No political leader, Muslim or Christian, has been spared the protesters’ outrage.
In Beirut, DW’s Diana Hodali said protesters were holding only Lebanese flags and not party flags.
“They are united in their plight for better living conditions,” she said.
Shortly after Hariri’s speech, groups of rioters in the capital, Beirut, separated from peaceful protesters and clashed with police as they ignited cars and broke store windows.
Elsewhere, the city was shut down as roads were blocked and garbage set aflame in the streets. Access to Beirut’s international airport was cut off. Shops, banks and schools were closed.
Similar scenes were witnessed in towns across the country.
The protests, triggered in part by a $6 a month tax on…
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