Lebanese cities face clashes between demonstrators and security forces

Reinforced police and army units, using tear gas, began to oust the demonstrators from the central square of Beirut, clashes between law enforcement officers and protesters resumed in Tripoli in northern Lebanon, the Lebanese television station LBC reported.

According to the channel, protesters in the center of Beirut stoned the police and army, stepping back from the Square of the Fallen to a nearby traffic intersection.

The army draws additional forces to the clash site in the center of the Lebanese capital.

Meanwhile, according to the Lebanese Red Cross, nine demonstrators were hospitalized as a result of clashes in Tripoli. Also, according to media reports, for the second day the demonstrators continue to block roads in different parts of the country.

Mass unrest resumed in Beirut amid reports of a sharp depreciation of the national currency. Prime Minister Hassan Diyab, due to unrest, announced an emergency government meeting on Friday morning to discuss the financial situation.

The Lebanese pound began to fall against the dollar since October 2019. For 30 years, the country maintained a rate of 1.5 thousand per dollar. However, against the backdrop of a worsening economic crisis, the black market rate rose to four thousand, which, in turn, sharply reduced the purchasing power of citizens, and the number of unemployed increased. Lebanese banks continue to keep the official exchange rate at 1.5 thousand, while limiting or stopping the full issuance of dollars to depositors and prohibiting the transfer of any funds abroad.

The unrest began in Lebanon on October 17, 2019. Then hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country came to anti-government demonstrations demanding effective economic reforms, holding politicians involved in corruption accountable, and returning funds stolen from the state budget. In November, Saad Hariri’s government resigned amid riots.

At the end of January, the country’s president approved a cabinet headed by Diyab, but mass demonstrations in the country did not stop. On the streets of Lebanese cities, only the threat of the spread of coronavirus and the introduction of the “civil mobilization” regime in the country became quiet. However, already in April in Tripoli, Beirut and Side, people again took part in demonstrations, which turned into mass pogroms with arson of banks and clashes with the army and police. The population partially calmed down after the announcement by the government of Diyab of the adopted anti-crisis plan to stabilize the economy in the country.

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