Police used tear gas against demonstrators in Beirut and Tripoli

Protesters have attempted to take over the building of the Lebanese Central Bank branch.

Police used tear gas against demonstrators in Beirut and Tripoli

Special army and police units used tear gas grenades on Friday in downtown Beirut to drive crowds of protesters away from the government palace in Riad Solha Square. According to the TASS reporter, special means were used after groups of aggressive demonstrators started throwing stones and firecrackers at soldiers. The rioters broke windows of banks and private offices in some places and there were no reports of arson.

At least eight people were injured in Tripoli (90 km from Beirut) during the clashes. There, police forces used tear gas and batons against demonstrators who attempted to take over the building of the Lebanese Central Bank branch.

By midnight, demonstrators had blocked virtually all major highways in the north and south of the country. In Beirut, they control the Ring overpass, which connects the Muslim and Christian quarters of the capital. On the coastal highway in the Jell-al-Dib area, activists set up tents right on the roadway.

“We are starting a new revolution, our patience is over”, –  said student leader Mustafa Rizk. Authorities “aren’t doing anything to make things right”, –  he said.

The riots in the capital and other cities on Thursday night were caused by a sharp fall in the exchange rate of the national currency – from 3,900 to 5 thousand Lebanese pounds for $1. Street protesters call the head of the Lebanese Central Bank Riad Salama responsible for the collapse of the unit of money and demand from the authorities to resign. The fate of the banker will be decided on Friday at an emergency government meeting on the financial crisis, which caused an unprecedented rise in prices.

Earlier, Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his firm intention to put an end to the manipulation of the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound by his opponents. The Prime Minister also rejected attempts to hold the cabinet of technocrats responsible for the erroneous policies of all previous Governments that had led to economic collapse.

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