Lebanon Rocked by 2nd Day of Anti-Lockdown Protests

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Demonstrators blocked several roads across Lebanon on Tuesday in protest at the dire economic situations amid a lengthy anti-coronavirus lockdown.

In Beirut, protesters blocked the Corniche al-Mazraa road with trash bins in both directions before riot police intervened and reopened it. They also partially blocked the Salim Salam tunnel.

Protesters also blocked the vital Jiye highway that links Beirut to the South and the Elia roundabout in Sidon.

In the North, which witnessed violent confrontations between protesters and security forces overnight, demonstrators blocked the al-Beddawi international highway in both directions, causing a severe traffic jam in the area. The also blocked the Bab al-Tabbaneh road in Tripoli.

Protesters also blocked the Chtaura-Zahle highway and the Taalabaya intersection in the Bekaa.

In the evening, protesters blocked the Saifi road in Beirut, the Aramoun and Bchamoun intersection outside the capital, the Elia roundabout in Sidon and the Khalde-Choueifat road.

The army meanwhile prevented protesters from blocking the vital Jal el-Dib highway.

In the eastern Bekaa region, smoke and fire rose above the highway linking the area to the capital as dozens of protesters burned tires and trash canisters.

“The street is exploding again,” read the lead into the evening news bulletin on the private LBCI TV station.

Lebanon, a country of nearly 5 million and over 1 million refugees, is going through an unprecedented economic crisis that preceded the pandemic and restrictions imposed to combat it.

A strict lockdown has been in place since mid-January in a bid to contain a major surge in coronavirus infections in the small country.

Protesters have decried that they have been unable to cope with the nearly month-long lockdown with little to no government assistance. The lockdown is in place until February 8.

Lebanon, a country of nearly 5 million and over 1 million refugees, is going through an unprecedented economic crisis that precedes the pandemic and restrictions imposed to combat it. The currency has tumbled, losing over 80% of its values; banks have imposed controls on withdrawals and transfers and unemployment and inflation skyrocketed.

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections surged in recent weeks, partially blamed on government measures to relax restrictions during the holiday seasons when tens of thousands of expat Lebanese were visiting. Hospitals have since registered near full occupancy of ICU beds and supplies were running out.

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