Protests against economic hardship in Tripoli spread to other Lebanese cities

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Protests against growing economic hardship erupted in Tripoli and spread to other Lebanese cities on Tuesday, with banks set ablaze and violence boiling over into a second night.

One demonstrator was killed in riots overnight Monday, according to security and medical sources, as a collapse in the currency, soaring inflation and spiraling unemployment convulse Lebanon, a country in deep financial crisis since October. A shutdown to fight the new coronavirus has made matters worse for the economy.

Protesters in the northern city of Tripoli set banks on fire and smashed their facades, prompting the army to fire rubber bullets and tear gas. Demonstrators later piled into a main square while some threw stones at security forces, marking a second night of violence.

Protesters in the southern city of Sidon chanting “revolution” hurled petrol bombs at a central bank building and set its exterior on fire before smashing the fronts of banks.

Banks have been a target of people angered by being frozen out of their deposits.

In Beirut, dozens marched across the city, some wearing medical masks while chanting against the financial system and shouting for more Lebanese to join. Later, crowds hurled stones toward security forces positioned in front of the central bank.

 

The growing unrest threatens to tip the country into more serious conflict even as Beirut looks to pass an economic rescue plan and enter negotiations with foreign creditors after defaulting on its hefty debt obligations last month.

 

 

Reuters

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