Lebanon Protesters Agree to Unblock Roads After Hariri Resigned

Published October 31st, 2019 - 11:46 GMT
Lebanese protesters demand better living conditions and the removal of a cast of politicians who have monopolised power and influence for decades at Riad al-Solh Square in Beirut. (AFP)
Lebanese protesters demand better living conditions and the removal of a cast of politicians who have monopolised power and influence for decades at Riad al-Solh Square in Beirut. (AFP)

Roads blocked by protesters have been reopened in the Lebanese capital Beirut following the resignation on Tuesday of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

Hariri resigned after 13 days of anti-corruption protests in Lebanon that brought the country to a standstill. He said that he had "hit a dead end" in trying to resolve Lebanon's crisis and that his resignation would be a "positive shock".

Lebanese protesters have demanded the resignation of the country’s entire ruling elite, chanting the slogan "all of them means all of them".

President Michel Aoun and the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri are seen by protesters as a symbol of the country’s sect-based patronage system, but are still in office. 

On Tuesday activists called for roads blocked by protesters to be reopened, although they said that rallies should continue in the main squares of the cities of Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon.

Protesters in Beirut's Martyrs' Square were violently attacked by supporters of the Hezbollah and Amal movements on Tuesday.

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Hassan Bazzi, a lawyer and activist, said on Facebook that protest groups had agreed to "completely reopen the roads and remain only in the Riad al-Solh Square in Beirut, the Elia Square in Sidon, and the Nour Square in Tripoli, until a new government is formed".

A group known as the Revolutionary Coordination Authority said that the first of the protesters' demands - the resignation of the Lebanese government - had been met.

It said that this "opens the door to the fulfilment of the rest of the demands, starting with the formation of a national salvation government that can take the country out of its crisis, answer the demands which started the revolution, and hold early parliamentary elections". 

The group called for "the opening of all roads as a gesture of good will", saying that protesters should remain in public squares, while the Revolutionary Youth Movement made a similar statement.

Troops cleared a major route north of Beirut in the early morning after briefly scuffling with protesters, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Some protesters have been reluctant to allow roads to be reopened. One woman told the agency that she would stay on the Ring Bridge in the centre of Beirut as she spread blankets on the road.

This article has been adapted from its original source. 


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