Second night of violent protests in Beirut
Demonstrators angry about economic corruption as crisis grips country
Dozens of people have been hurt in a second night of clashes between riot police and anti-government demonstrators in Beirut.
Security forces in the Lebanese capital fired teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters, who pelted them with rocks and firecrackers.
According to Sky News “snatch squads” beat and detained protesters as the two sides engaged in cat-and-mouse clashes.
The Lebanese Civil Defence and the Red Cross said they took 46 people to hospital and treated the wounds of dozens of others at the scene of the clashes.
Chants rang out against caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is widely expected to be named head of the next government during parliamentary consultations later today.
“We will not leave. They are the ones who looted the country. They are the ones who got us here. We want our rights,” Nadine Farhat, 31, a protestor, told Reuters.
Demonstrations began in October as anger rose over economic mismanagement. Protesters are angry at the regime’s failure to deal with a stagnant economy, rising prices, high unemployment, dire public services and corruption.
Less than a fortnight after protests began, Hariri offered his resignation, deepening the country's political crisis.
CNN says the country is “buckling under an economic crisis that has sent prices soaring, and led to mass layoffs and salary cuts”. Business have shut their doors and banks have imposed informal capital controls.
Rival political factions failed to agree on a new head of government but an administration is required to truly tackle the crisis gripping the country because foreign donors holding back financial support until there is a cabinet in place to carry out reforms.
Commentators say the crisis could be ushering in the death of the country's political system, in which power is allocated among religious groups. “This system is clearly over,” Sami Atallah, the director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera.
“Economically and politically it is very clearly the end of an era. But we have yet to produce another one: we have left Lebanon 2.0 but don't have Lebanon 3.0 yet.”
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