Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister threatens to stop work over growing protests

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Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has threatened to stop performing his duties to pressure politicians to form a new government as protesters blocked roadways across Lebanon for the fifth day in a row, setting fire to tyres and furniture.

The renewed protests came amid anger about the collapse of the Lebanese pound, which fell to a new low of 10,000 to the US dollar last Tuesday.

The crash has resulted in a sharp increase in prices of goods and services as well as delays in the arrival of fuel shipments, leading to more extended power cuts around the country.

In Tripoli which is Lebanon’s poorest city, protesters blocked several roads and staged a sit-in at a roundabout near the city port, calling for the resignation of all political officials.

Demonstrators also blocked roads linking the cities of Tripoli, Minnieh and Akkar, using trucks, water tanks, rubbish containers and stones.

The country has been in chaos since August when Diab’s cabinet resigned on the back of the Beirut port explosion that devastated parts of the capital.

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri was nominated in October but has failed to form a new cabinet due to the political deadlock with President Michel Aoun.