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LEBANESE protesters called for “revolution” on the third consecutive day of nationwide demonstrations yesterday, demanding the resignation of the government amid a deepening economic crisis.
Late on Saturday four members of the Lebanese Forces party quit the government as protests against tax hikes — including a scrapped plan to hit WhatsApp users with additional charges — intensified.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri had given his coalition partners three days from Friday to find a solution to the unfolding crisis.
He said: “I’m giving our partners in government a very short deadline — 72 hours — that can give us a solution that can convince us, the people on the streets and our international partners,” describing the country’s economic situation as “unprecedented.”
But Labour Minister Camille Abousleiman said she had resigned having “lost faith in the government’s ability to effect change and address the problem.”
Thousands took to Martyrs Square in the capital Beirut, chanting “revolution” and “the people demand the fall of the regime.”
Large protests also took place in Lebanon’s second-largest city Tripoli and the Bekka Valley. They are demanding the resignation of Mr Harriri along with President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
The country’s leaders are accused of corruption, with protesters calling for the return of state funds they say have been stolen over the decades, while pressure mounts against Lebanon’s strict banking secrecy laws.
Lebanon has a public debt of around $86 billion [£66.2 bn], which amounts to more than 150 per cent of its gross domestic product.
Peaceful protests continue despite scores of arrests and the use of violence and tear gas by the police.
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