Lebanon News

Protesters reject ‘government of advisers’

Protesters gather in front of Parliament to reject the "government of advisers." (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets Thursday voicing their rejection of the leaked lineup of a new government, which they quickly coined the “government of advisers.” Posters quickly circulated across social media saying: “No confidence ... they removed the originals and placed the agent [adviser],” in reference to a number of the individuals in the new lineup reportedly being advisers to current ruling politicians.

A few hundred protesters gathered in front of Parliament in Nijmeh Square blocking the road in front of the Beirut Municipality, while hundreds more later gathered at the “Ring Bridge,” blocking the highway on both sides with dumpsters.

Demonstrators also gathered in front of the Central Bank in Hamra in the evening, the sight of violent clashes between protesters and security forces earlier this week.

A number of these protesters then marched to the Interior Ministry in Sanayeh. According to local TV channel LBCI, one protester attacked the crew members of LBCI and Al-Jadeed with a “sharp object.”

The road near the Druze Spiritual Council in Verdun was also blocked by protesters Thursday night.

South Lebanon’s Tyre was once again the sight of protests - the area that has long been associated with Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement and Hezbollah.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have been demanding a technocratic and independent government since the nationwide protests broke out on Oct. 17.

Separately, in front of the Helou Police Barracks near Corniche al-Mazraa, tensions calmed after two nights of heavy violence.

An estimated 100 people were detained between Tuesday and Wednesday after protests targeted the Central Bank.

According to local media, all those detained from the Hamra protests Tuesday night were released, except for seven foreigners who reportedly did not have legal residency documents.

Protesters headed to the barracks to demand the release of those detained during the Hamra protests and more violence ensued Thursday night with more arrests and excessive violence by the Internal Security Forces.

Earlier Thursday, roads were blocked across the country as the “Week of Anger” persisted into the 92nd day of Lebanon’s uprising.

In Tripoli, protesters blocked roads with burning tires in the early morning, the state-run National News Agency reported. In Jbeil, protesters held a sit-in at the Ogero building, denouncing the high price of telecommunications in the country.

Students in Jbeil also blocked off the entrances to the Alfa telecommunications building, preventing employees from entering.

Calls for a general strike were made by protesters, in addition to road closures for Friday morning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 17, 2020, on page 2.




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