Beirut - The reform package was announced in response to massive nationwide protests that began on Thursday.
Lebanon's cabinet approved a package of economic reforms and a 2020 budget with no new taxes on Monday, hoping to appease the thousands of protesters that have taken to the streets for the last five days to demand the government step down.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri described the measures as a "financial coup", saying no government in Lebanon's history has taken such steps before. As Hariri's speech was aired live on all local TV stations, thousands of protesters who had gathered in central Beirut chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime." The number of protesters swelled following the cabinet announcement, amid intense scepticism the reforms amounted to anything serious.
The reform package was announced in response to massive nationwide protests that began on Thursday and have turned into a widening revolt against the country's sectarian status quo and the entire political elite. The outrage over the government's mismanagement of a deepening economic crisis and proposed new taxes has unified Lebanon's often fractious society.