The Lebanese Higher Defense Council said that it asked the security services to remain in a state of complete readiness to prevent destabilization of security, in light of escalating demonstrations for days in different regions of the country to denounce the deterioration of the living situation, while the Ministry of Energy raised fuel prices by 35%.

The Secretary-General of the Lebanese Higher Defense Council, Major General Mahmoud Al-Asmar, said that the council discussed in its meeting today the state of security chaos in the country, and took a number of decisions that would alleviate the current crisis in Lebanon.

Major General Al-Asmar added that there is a difference between objecting to the deteriorating situation and assaulting people, noting that there is a new schedule for fuel prices that would ease the crisis.

During the meeting of the Higher Defense Council, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that expression of opinion is guaranteed to everyone, and it should not turn into chaos and riots, and at the beginning of the council meeting, he called on the security authorities to “not tolerate chaos,” in order to preserve general stability in the country. .

Protesters blocked main roads and set rubber tires on fire in Beirut and other cities to denounce the deteriorating living situation (European)

For his part, Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in the meeting that blocking roads and attacking the army and people's property cannot be an expression of rejection and resentment.

Protesters had closed major roads in Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon during the past days, to denounce the deteriorating living conditions due to the collapse of the value of the national currency, the scarcity of fuel and the lack of basic materials from the markets.

During the recent protests, the demonstrators expressed their discontent with the long hours of power outage, sometimes exceeding 21 hours a day, in addition to the rationing imposed by the owners of neighborhood generators;

Due to the lack of fuel, which also led to the disruption of work in some hospitals on Monday, and the work of the General Security headquarters in Beirut was suspended, according to local media.

Al-Jazeera correspondent in Lebanon, Ihab Al-Aqdi, said that the meeting of the Higher Defense Council came out of fear of reactions in the Lebanese street to the hike in fuel prices, especially since yesterday witnessed the closure of some streets in Lebanese cities with limited popular participation.

The reporter added that the increase in fuel prices includes car fuel and household gas, and this increase, according to what citizens say, would lead to an increase in the cost of citizens' transportation and food prices.

The meeting of the Supreme Defense Council came hours after the Lebanese Ministry of Energy announced that the prices of fuels in the country were raised by 35%, as the price of a can of gasoline became 62,000 Lebanese pounds (about 40 dollars).

Long queues in front of petrol stations in Lebanon due to the scarcity of supplies of petroleum products (Reuters)

This step comes in implementation of the caretaker government's decision to import fuels at an exchange rate for the dollar equivalent to more than twice its official price, in order to face the fuel shortage crisis.

The Syndicate of Fuel Distributors announced that the ships loaded with fuel had begun unloading their cargoes, and that distribution would start at gas stations today.

The crisis had reflected on all productive sectors and power plants.

In a separate context, Lebanese banks closed their doors today in response to the Association of Banks' call for a strike against the backdrop of dozens of young men storming the headquarters of the Lebanese Swiss Bank in Beirut, to demand funds for a charitable association.

The spokesman for the "Benin" Association, Muhammad Beydoun, had said that the young men stormed the bank and forced its management to transfer funds outside Lebanon to provide treatment for a number of patients, adding that their move came as a result of the banks' cessation of transferring depositors' money.

On the other hand, the management of the Lebanese Swiss Bank said that the association's accounts had been closed in compliance with the decision of the Special Investigation Commission at the Central Bank.

It is noteworthy that Lebanon has been experiencing, since 2019, a severe political crisis, manifested in the failure to form a new government, in addition to the high rate of unemployment and inflation, the depletion of a large number of medicines, and the high prices of imported foodstuffs, most of them; This has accelerated the spread of poverty on a large scale, with half of the population now living below the poverty line, according to the United Nations.

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