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Lebanon Protesters Block Roads to Press their Demands

Lebanon Protesters Block Roads to Press their Demands

Monday, 28 October, 2019 - 06:45
A demonstrator reacts during a police operation to open a blocked highway during ongoing anti-government protests in Beirut, Lebanon, October 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese demonstrators set up barricades and parked cars across key roads Monday to protest corruption and press their demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government.

Defying pleas from Lebanon's top leaders, protesters sought to keep the country paralyzed by cutting off some of the main thoroughfares, including the main north-south highway.

A poster urging motorists to block roads with their cars started circulating on social media on Sunday.

By Monday morning, some major routes were closed off by hundreds of angle-parked vehicles, others by groups of protesters sitting on the road.

The Lebanese security forces had been expected to make a new attempt at reopening the roads as the country faced more paralysis after 11 days of protests.

The army and the country's top security agencies agreed during talks held at the defense ministry in Yarze on Sunday to a military-led plan to clear roadblocks, but their efforts have been met with resistance from demonstrators.

Lebanese soldiers forcibly removed anti-government protesters from a highway linking the southern city of Sidon to the capital, Beirut, and briefly detained around a dozen of them.

No weapons were used and there were no reports of serious injuries from the confrontation early on Monday.

The unprecedented mobilization was sparked a proposed tax on voice calls via messaging apps, but quickly morphed into a massive grassroots push to drive out the ruling class which has remained virtually unchanged in three decades.

The protesters are demanding the government's resignation, more freedom, better services and an end to corruption and sectarianism, among other things.

Banks, schools and universities remained closed Monday.

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