More than 170 people were injured in police encounters with demonstrators in Beirut

Protesters failed to disrupt a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies.

More than 170 people – demonstrators and police – were injured in clashes in the centre of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday. According to a representative of the Lebanese Red Cross Society, 24 of them were taken to hospitals and the rest were treated on the ground.

Earlier, riot police used water cannons and tear gas in downtown Beirut to disperse protesters who were trying to make their way to the parliamentary palace on Place Etoile. Army patrols were sent to the capital to assist police forces.

The demonstrators failed to disrupt a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies at which a vote of confidence in the new government of the republic headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab will take place. According to Speaker Nabih Berri, 68 out of 128 deputies got to the palace at Place Etoile, which allowed to open the session and start discussing the cabinet’s anti-crisis plan.

In his address to the MPs, the Prime Minister acknowledged that his government “has a long way to go before it can restore citizens’ trust in the state.

“Many of the demands of the people’s movement are fair and need to be implemented as soon as possible”, –  stressed Diab.

On 6 February, the new cabinet, made up of 20 technocrats, approved a reform programme aimed at stabilizing the economy. The plan provides for a number of “painful measures” to prevent financial collapse, given that the national debt of Lebanon reached $85 billion, while the national currency – the Lebanese pound – has depreciated by 33%. The Cabinet is also preparing judicial reform and a series of measures to combat corruption.


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