Protesters Hurl Eggs in Baalbek, Vandalise Banks in Dahieh
Protesters hurled eggs and vandalized banks while others blocked several main roads on Saturday as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month.
In the city of Baalbek, demonstrators hurled eggs at the central bank’s branch in the area and prevented access for employees.
Others sprayed graffiti and vandalised banks in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahieh, a move unseen before in Hizbullah’s stronghold.
“Down with the dollar, down with the rule of the banks,” graffiti sprayed on banks walls read.
Protests this week saw angry demonstrators attack banks following the imposition of sharp curbs on cash withdrawals to stem a liquidity crisis.
Lebanon has been without a government since Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned Oct. 29 amid nationwide protests against corruption and mismanagement by a political class that has been running the country since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.
Panic and anger have gripped the public as they watch their local currency, pegged to the dollar for almost three decades, plummet, losing more than 60% of its value in recent weeks on the black market. Meanwhile, banks have imposed informal capital controls, limiting withdrawal of dollars and foreign transfers from the country.
The economy has worsened since mass protests began Oct. 17, turning violent in recent weeks as anger mounts. Earlier this week, protesters carried out acts of vandalism, targeting mostly banks.
Protesters have already rejected the new Cabinet saying that although it is going to be made up of experts, the ministers are named by the political groups they blame for Lebanon's problems. The protest movement is insisting that the government be made of independent technocrats.