Naharnet

Lebanon Protesters Rally, Block Roads in Rejection of New Govt.

Lebanon’s anti-government protesters started rallying and blocking key roads across the country shortly before a new government was due to be formed.

The protesters were gathering near parliament in downtown Beirut and outside the residence of MP Faisal Karami in Tripoli.

Also in Tripoli, protesters smashed the façade of Cedrus Bank and its ATM as they blocked the Riad al-Solh avenue and the el-Mina intersection with trash bins.

Other protesters meanwhile blocked the key Naameh highway that links Beirut to the South, the al-Beddawi highway in the North, the Corniche al-Mazraa road in the capital and roads in the Bekaa province.

The protesters took to the streets after media reports said the new government would be formed on Tuesday night.

Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab and Speaker Nabih Berri later met with President Michel Aoun ahead of the announcement of the new government’s line-up.

Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis since its civil war, an unprecedented protest movement and mounting international pressure for reform.

The country has been waiting for a new government since former prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29, two weeks into a protest movement demanding the removal of a political class deemed incompetent and corrupt.

After weeks of political wrangling over who would head the next government, political parties on December 19 designated Hassan Diab, an engineering professor and self-professed technocrat.

Diab had pledged to form a government that includes independent experts and representatives of the popular movement -- a key demand of protesters who have lost faith in the established elite. However, the ruling political parties and Diab have named all the new ministers.

Source: Naharnet


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