Lebanese police disperse anti-austerity protesters in Beirut

Beirut - Lebanese police dispersed hundreds of anti-austerity protesters who attempted to storm the Lebanese Governmental House in downtown Beirut on Monday.

The protesters, mainly retired army personnel, have taken to the streets for the past three weeks amid fears that the government could cut their monthly pensions. Lebanon's cabinet threatened earlier this month to take unpopular decisions during negotiations over the 2019 budget.
Some protesters burned tyres and blocked roads on Beirut's Riad al-Solh Street.
One of the protesters was wounded as police tried to push them away from the barbed wires around the governmental building, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.
Lebanon is under pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to impose austerity measures in return for financial support that was pledged at a donor conference in Paris last year.
The country has one of the biggest public debt ratios in the world, equivalent to about 150 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri sounded the alarm in April on the economic situation in the country.
"The economic situation in the country is dangerous," he said. "We must find a way to reduce the public deficit, otherwise Lebanon will face negative consequences," he said.


Monday, May 20th 2019

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