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Issue #1893      November 6, 2019

Protests force PM resignation

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned today, bowing to pressure from anti-government protesters.

Hariri announced that he would step down after hitting a “dead end” in trying to resolve anger from the public, which has seen two weeks of demonstrations, and “sensing the need for a positive shock.”

Protesters on the streets, who have been demanding the resignation of the government, erupted into cheers at the news.

Hariri has previously expressed reluctance to work with the various religious and political factions, including Hezbollah, which dominate the government.

The government has been charged with failing to address the increasing economic crisis. 

The resignation came soon after Hezbollah supporters with batons reeked havoc in the main protest camp in Beirut, torching tents and smashing plastic chairs to drive off protesters.

Comprised of men dressed all in black, the supporters also kicked reporters while chanting: “At your service, Hussein” and “God, Nasrallah, and the whole Dahiyeh,” in reference to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the group’s stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Soldiers and riot police initially tried to separate the groups, but were unable to prevent the Hezbollah supporters from storming Martyrs’ Square in central Beirut.

The protests had been largely peaceful acts of civil disobedience, with only minor clashes with security forces before the attacks by Hezbollah supporters began last week.

Nasrallah criticised the protests last week, accusing foreign powers of exploiting them to undermine his group and said they threatened to drag the country into civil war.

With protests set to continue, Lebanese police and the military announced they were dispatching additional troops to “restore order” in the capital.

Morning Star

Next article – “A lot of pain”

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