Lebanon – SCC Protesters Rally Near Baabda Palace as Suleiman Promises Solution Starting March 21

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Protesters demanding the government to refer the public sector wage scale to parliament for approval held a sit-in near Baabda palace on Tuesday as the cabinet met to discuss several controversial issues.

The protest was organized by the Syndicate Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, whose open-ended strike entered its third week.

Head of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Association Hanna Gharib told Future TV at the site of the protest that the demonstrators were demanding officials to set a deadline for referring the scale to the assembly.

The state-run National News Agency said that the large number of participants in the rally caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Baabda-Hadath road after the main highway that links Beirut with the Bekaa valley was cut.

The protesters chanted anti-government slogans and called on the cabinet to refer the salary scale to the legislature for adoption.

As the sit-in was held, President Michel Suleiman told the cabinet that the government will start meeting on March 21 to discuss ways to fund the scale.

“It might need several sessions” to take a final decision, he said.

“Prime Minister Najib Miqati is carefully trying to resolve the matter along with the involved ministers, the Economic Committees and the SCC,” Suleiman added.

The Committees have warned that the government’s decision to boost the salaries of public employees would inflict major losses on the public and private sectors.

 

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