INTERNATIONALTOP NEWS

Thousands gather on Beirut’s streets for anti-government protest

Beirut

Hours after supporters of embattled President Michel Aoun held a rally; tens of thousands of anti-government protesters also took to streets in the capital city on Sunday.

Extending support to Aoun, scores of his supporters marched near the presidential palace in Beirut’s suburb of Baabda for the first time since the anti-government protests began in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Aoun, who took office in late 2016, said reform will take time. “We have drawn up a three-point road map based on [fighting] corruption, the economy and the civil state. But the three are not easy to fulfil.”

“Corruption does not wane easily because it has taken root for dozens of years. It will not go without great efforts,” he added.

According to figures released by Lebanon’s Finance

Ministry in July, the country has one of the biggest public debt ratios in the world.

The country’s gross debt reached 85.7 billion dollars at the end of June, up by 0.7 per cent from the end of last year, added the ministry.

The anti-government protests in Lebanon began on October 17, with demonstrations from various religious groups accusing the government of corruption and mismanagement. The protesters also called for steps to improve the economic condition of the country.

Fulfilling a key demand of the protesters, Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 29 announced his resignation from the post.

However, he will stay on in the role of caretaker Prime Minister until a new government is formed.

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