Roads blocked, pharmacies shut amid dizzying dollar surge

The Order of Pharmacists of Lebanon on Tuesday called on pharmacies to "close as of this moment," after the black market dollar exchange rate hit the LBP 143,000 mark.

“In the face of the collapse that is taking place without any care from officials, and after companies and warehouses stopped delivering medicines to pharmacies in a near-complete fashion since more than two weeks, and after pharmacies were emptied of medicines, the Order’s council calls on pharmacies in Lebanon to close as of this moment, until medicines are delivered to pharmacies under any format or mechanism on which the relevant parties might agree on,” the council said in a statement.

MTV meanwhile reported that fuel stations and gas distributors are also inclined to go on strike unless they are allowed to sell fuel and gas to customers in U.S. dollars.

The developments prompted protesters to take to the streets in several regions.

In Tripoli, protesters blocked a road with trash bins and rocks, chanting slogans demanding “the departure of the ruling authorities and the finding of quick solutions before it’s too late.”

Protesters also blocked the al-Beddawi and the al-Abdeh roads in the North, the Corniche al-Mazraa road in Beirut, the Brital road in the Bekaa and the Tyre-Naqoura road in the South.

The head of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, Beshara al-Asmar, meanwhile told the al-Markazia news agency that “an inclusive and comprehensive strike is necessary,” revealing that he has started contacts in this regard.

“We are noticing any measure to rein in the dollar and we have not seen any financial meeting that indicates that someone cares about people’s affairs,” Asmar said.

“We might start an open-ended strike, because a strike for one day is no longer sufficient or effective, especially with the major surges that are happening every day,” Asmar added.

Source: Naharnet

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