Protests continue across Lebanon despite PM's reform measures

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-22 20:45:00|Editor: xuxin
Video PlayerClose

BEIRUT, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Protests across Lebanon continued Tuesday to demonstrate against government's policies despite the reform measures announced by Prime Minister Saad Hariri a day earlier, Al Jadeed local TV channel reported.

Protesters took to streets for the sixth consecutive day, and blocked the streets leading to the central bank in Beirut's Hamra in addition to streets in different areas of the country.

The Lebanese army was deployed all over Lebanon in an attempt to clear roads of barriers set by protesters and facilitate the transportation for regular movement of citizens across the country.

Banks remained closed on Tuesday while banking sources told Asharq Al Awsat local newspaper that banks may probably keep their doors shut until next Monday for security reasons and to avoid a high demand by people for their deposits.

However, the central bank has supplied commercial banks with liquidity in case people are willing to draw money from ATM machines.

Moreover, military veterans joined the protests while announcing that they will not leave the streets until the government meets all their demands.

Some of the people voiced their concern about government's capacity to implement the reforms included in the new economic plan.

Others expressed their dissatisfaction about the reforms, emphasizing the need to remove the secret bank accounts of all politicians and adopt concrete measures to restore people's confidence and trust.

Hariri had announced a day earlier a number of reforms to help the country in overcoming its current economic and social crisis.

Among the most important reforms announced by Hariri is a 2020 state budget with 0.6 percent deficit, a cut in the salaries of ministers, parliament members and former MPs by 50 percent, a reduction in the budgets of the Council for Development and Reconstruction and other public institutions by 70 percent.

Also, Hariri said that the government will provide healthcare for the elderly, and inject an additional 20 billion Lebanese pounds (13.23 million U.S. dollars) for the support of the most vulnerable people, in addition to constructing power stations and reducing 50 percent of the electricity's deficit in 2020 while allocating 165 million dollars for housing loans.