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Lebanon’s Anti-Government Protesters Call for General Strike

Lebanon’s Anti-Government Protesters Call for General Strike

Sunday, 3 November, 2019 - 17:00
Anti-government protesters chant slogans against the Lebanese government, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. AP

Tens of thousands of Lebanese packed on Sunday into central Beirut for an anti-government demonstration hours after a rally was held in support of President Michel Aoun.

The protesters called for a general strike Monday and for the government to speed up the political transition following Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation last week.

Anti-government protests first erupted Oct. 17 to call for sweeping changes to the political system.

The resignation of the cabinet was a first victory, but demonstrators have vowed to press ahead with their other demands.

"All of them means all of them," protesters chanted on Sunday in central Beirut, a reference to the removal of an elite they accuse of pillaging the state and steering it into crisis.

Earlier Sunday, Aoun’s supporters gathered near Baabda’s presidential palace in a rally to express support for the president and his son-in-law FPM leader Gebran Bassil.

Aoun addressed the Lebanese in a televised speech.

"I call on you all to unite," the president said.

He said a roadmap had been drawn up to tackle corruption, redress the economy, and put together a civil government.

"It won't be easy, and we need your efforts," he said.

Bassil, who is Lebanon's caretaker foreign minister, warned the pro-Aoun rally of "difficult days ahead" and said the country had been "racing against time to prevent a collapse."

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