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Lebanon: President Calls for Lifting Bank Secrecy from Ministers’ Accounts

Lebanon: President Calls for Lifting Bank Secrecy from Ministers’ Accounts

Monday, 21 October, 2019 - 10:00
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun arrives to address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday that public anger and protests gripping the country showed "people's pain" but that accusing all politicians of corruption equally was not fair.

The government must at least start by lifting banking secrecy from current and future ministers, his office said in a tweet.

"What is happening in the streets expresses people's pain, but generalizing corruption (charges) against everyone carries big injustice," Aoun said during a cabinet session.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across Lebanon's sectarian divide rallied against corruption and the entire political class Sunday, the fourth and largest demonstration since protests began Thursday evening in response to a proposed tax on calls via WhatsApp and other messaging services.

Early Monday morning protesters began to block main roads and prevent employees going to work, while calls on social media urged people to boycott work.

Banks, universities and schools remained closed.

Many protesters say they don't trust any reform plan by the current government. They've called on Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s 30-member cabinet to resign and be replaced by a smaller one made up of technocrats instead of members of political factions.

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