Middle East

Protests rock Lebanon as economy deteriorates further

Lebanese pound hits fresh record low against US dollar amid steady decline in living conditions

Riya Shartouni   | 04.03.2021
Protests rock Lebanon as economy deteriorates further Protestors block roads with garbage containers and burning tyres during a demonstration due to the record depreciation of the local currency and the current economic crisis, at Martyrs' Square in Beirut, Lebanon on March 3, 2021. ( Mahmut Geldi - Anadolu Agency )

BEIRUT, Lebanon 

Dozens of anti-government protests erupted across Lebanon Wednesday as the Lebanese pound hit a fresh record low, exacerbating already dire living conditions. 

In the Lebanese capital Beirut, scores of protesters burned tires to block a main road near Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut while other protesters closed the road to Beirut's airport, which was reopened after an hour.

An official traffic website also reported that protesters closed Abdul Hamid Karami Square and other roads in Tripoli, northern Lebanon and Zahle Square in the Beqaa governorate in central Lebanon.

Earlier Wednesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun asked the governor of the Lebanese Central Bank to investigate the causes that led to a new record devaluation of the country's currency and to expose any suspicious practices behind the pound's fresh loss.

On Tuesday, the Lebanese pound fell to 10,000 to the US dollar, putting further pressure on the already deteriorating economy and living conditions.

The latest economic fallout comes amid the continued failure to form a new government since Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government resigned six days after a catastrophic explosion rocked Beirut’s port last August, killing over 200 people.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was designated to form a new government but is still at odds with President Aoun over matters related to it.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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