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Facing protests, Lebanese leaders consider reshuffle

Facing protests, Lebanese leaders consider reshuffle

Beirut - Lebanon has been swept by protests against politicians blamed for corruption and waste.



By Reuters

Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 11:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Oct 2019, 1:27 AM

Lebanese leaders are discussing a possible government reshuffle, sources said on Wednesday, to defuse unprecedented protests against the political elite that have paralysed the country for a week. Lebanon's highest Christian Maronite authority and a prominent Druze politician threw their weight behind the groundswell for change, calling for qualified technocrats to be included in any government shake-up.

With a population of six million people, including around one million Syrian refugees, Lebanon has been swept by protests against politicians blamed for corruption and waste in a state mired in debt and economic crisis. Flag-waving protesters kept roads blocked with vehicles and makeshift barricades for a seventh day on Wednesday. Banks have been closed since Friday and will remain shut on Thursday, the banking association said. Schools are also closed.
Soldiers scuffled with demonstrators as they struggled to unblock main roads. "We're staying in the streets until the looted public funds are restored, until the government falls," said Heba Haidar, protesting at a makeshift barricade of empty trash containers and steel rods in Beirut.

Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri's government announced an emergency reform package on Monday, to try to assuage public anger and steer the state away from a looming financial crisis. - Reuters


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