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Lebanon: new violence between demonstrators and police on the 100th day of the protest


Clashes again opposed, on Saturday in Lebanon, protesters to the police in central Beirut, on the 100th day of an unprecedented protest against the political class accused of this…

New clashes took place on Saturday 25 January between protesters and the police in Beirut on the 100th day of an unprecedented challenge to the Lebanese government, protesters denouncing the new government's affiliation to a political class accused of corruption and mismanagement against the backdrop of a serious economic crisis.

At least 20 people were injured in the two camps, 18 of whom were treated on the spot, the secretary general of the Lebanese Red Cross, Georges Kettaneh, told AFP.

Under the slogan "No confidence", several peaceful marches were organized in the early afternoon in several streets of the capital before the movement slipped after the arrival of the demonstrators in central Beirut.

On the Riad el-Solh square, the crowd gathered at the foot of the Sérail hill - the seat of government where the new Prime Minister Hassan Diab resides - tried to tear off the barbed wire and move the concrete blocks as well than a large screen gate, according to an AFP correspondent.

Protesters also threw stones and firecrackers at riot police stationed on the other side, which responded with shots of a water cannon and tear gas.

Shield in hand and in close ranks, members of the riot force ended up dispersing the demonstrators who had succeeded in dismantling almost all the obstacles erected at the entrance to the seat of government, according to the AFP correspondent.

The new Minister of Justice, Marie-Claude Najm, deplored the "violence" and the "destruction" caused by the demonstrators.

"Sharing cake"

In the past two weeks, violent clashes have taken place between the protesters and the police, while the country was still without a government, causing hundreds of injuries and leading to dozens of arrests.

Lebanon finally set up a new cabinet on Tuesday, almost three months after the resignation, under pressure from the street, of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

But the new team is affiliated, like the previous ones, with political parties that the street conspires.

It is constituted this time by a single political camp, that dominated by the powerful armed movement of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and its allies.

Since October 17, the street has been calling for an overhaul of the political system and the departure of the entire ruling class.

The starting point for this change lay, according to the demonstrators, in the formation of a reduced and transitional cabinet made up of independent specialists in the political harem, in power since the end of the civil war (1975-1990).

"It is not the government that we have demanded," laments Perla Maalouly, a protester.

"After 100 days, they continue to do what they want, as if the people had said nothing," she adds.

The street denounces a "sharing of cake" between political parties, in a country where the formation of governments often lends itself to endless negotiations that can last several months.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab took a month to form his government, made up of 20 ministers including some academics and professionals, against the backdrop of divisions over the allocation of ministerial portfolios.

This serious political crisis has been accompanied in recent months by a deterioration in the economic situation, with mass layoffs, drastic banking restrictions and a depreciation of the national currency on the parallel market.

Lebanon is facing an economic "disaster", recognized Hassan Diab on Wednesday, promising that his government would make every effort to avoid a collapse.

The country is collapsing under a debt of around 81 billion euros, or more than 150% of its gross domestic product (GDP), one of the highest rates in the world.

With AFP

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Source: france24

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