Lebanese worker sets himself on fire at Beirut protest
A man set himself on fire outside Lebanon's main electricity bureau in Beirut after daily contract workers at the company gathered there to protest a stalled bill in parliament that would grant them benefits.
The man was taken to Jetaoui Hospital to be treated for his wounds.
Employees of Electricite Du Liban (EDL) had gathered outside the headquarters in Beirut's Gemayze district Monday and set fire to tires in an attempt to shut down a major highway near the offices.
They blocked all the entrances to EDL, lit garbage cans around the area on fire, and warned of escalating the protests, elNashra news agency reported.
Other employees launched a sit-in inside the offices, the agency said.
Lebanon’s security forces arrived at the scene to attempt to subdue the protests.
Thousands of contract EDL employees launched a strike last year to demand job security and an end to plans to privatize the company.
In June 2012, the parliament's Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water Committee declared that daily contract workers at EDL should be granted full-time contracts and state pensions.
But the bill has since been halted due to the refusal of some Christian Members of Parliament to accept the ruling who complain that giving full rights to the mostly-Shia workers would leave Christians underrepresented.
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