Nationwide protest held in Lebanon against long-term economic crisis

by IANS |

Beirut, Jan 14 (IANS) Lebanese held a nationwide protest against soaring prices and deteriorating living conditions caused by the long-term economic crisis.

Drivers and citizens took to the streets on Thursday in the capital Beirut, Tripoli, Khalde and other cities and towns, parking their cars in the middle of the streets and burning dust bins to blockade main roads, Xinhua news agency reported.

Fadi Abou Chakra, Spokesman for Lebanon's fuel stations union, told Xinhua that the collapse of the Lebanese currency has impacted every aspect of life in the country.

"People can no longer afford their most basic needs, let alone to fill their cars with petrol which has increased in price following the hike in the price of US dollar while people's salaries have remained the same," he said.

Ali Bazzi, a taxi driver, said he can no longer afford fuel for his car but still cannot charge his clients more as they have already become too poor to take a taxi.

Lebanon has been suffering from an unprecedented financial crisis amid shortage of US dollars which has caused a collapse in the local currency, plunging over 78 per cent of the population into poverty. The cabinet formed in September 2021 has not met for three months, as political rivals have been differing on the issues of investigation into the 2020 Beirut port blast.

The Lebanese pound, which was pegged to the US. dollar at a rate of 1,500 pounds per $ until the crisis erupted in 2019, has collapsed and was trading on the parallel market on Thursday at about 31,500 pounds against 1$.

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