Lebanese army reopens roads cut off by anti-government protesters

Published November 6, 2019, 8:49 AM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By EFE-EPA

The Lebanese army on Tuesday reopened roads across the country that were blocked by anti-government protesters.

A dog is seen as Lebanese riot policemen stand guards during a protest at the entrance of the MTC Touch building, one of the two mobile operators in Lebanon, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 05 November 2019. (EFE/EPA/WAEL HAMZEH / MANILA BULLETIN)
A dog is seen as Lebanese riot policemen stand guards during a protest at the entrance of the MTC Touch building, one of the two mobile operators in Lebanon, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 05 November 2019. (EFE/EPA/WAEL HAMZEH / MANILA BULLETIN)

A military official told Efe that forces are unblocking roads in Beirut and other parts of the country after they were closed again on Monday by demonstrators who have been protesting for the past 20 days against political and economic reforms.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that some areas are expected to be blocked again.

Castro Abdallah, head of the National Federation of Employees’ and Workers’ Union in Lebanon, told Efe that protesters had opened roads to facilitate the movement of citizens.

Abdallah explained that roadblocks were leading to “divisions” between protesters, who had tried to prevent several institutions and banks from getting back to business as usual.

He said that employees had been “gathering in the streets since day one, and the strike includes the private and public sectors”.

“They have blocked roads from the north to the south. The strike is not only concentrated in the capital, but also in Tripoli and other cities, as well as small towns,” the FENASOL president said.

Fadia, a young Lebanese businesswoman, said that the protesters “are hostage to the situation”.

“We support the fair demands of the demonstrator, but we have to go to work. It is not fair that we suffer the consequences of what the political leaders did,” she added.

Protests across Lebanon started on 17 October in response to the government’s plan to impose taxes on messaging apps such as WhatsApp, but demonstrators quickly turned to a broader denunciation of pervasive corruption and the ruling class in a nation with one of the world’s highest levels of economic inequality.

In response, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation last week, bowing to one of the key demands laid down by the protesters.

However, President Michel Aoun has not started consultations to appoint a new premier.

 
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