Man dies after Lebanon economic protest turns violent

Man dies after Lebanon economic protest turns violent

Man dies after Lebanon economic protest turns violent

The country is seeing a financial collapse, with unprecedented inflation and a plunging Lebanese pound.

On Tuesday, a protester died and several were injured during clashes between the Lebanese army forces and demonstrators in the city of Tripoli, during protests denouncing the ongoing social and economic crisis in the country.

When mass protests erupted across Lebanon in October against perceived official graft and mismanagement, Tripoli fast became known as the "bride" of the street movement.

Army units had also carried out raids to arrest those suspected of setting one of its vehicles on fire during the protest and of attacking banks and ATMs, the agency said. The Lebanese pound has plummeted since last October, with the country sinking deeper into a financial crisis that has resulted in price hikes, fuelled unrest as well as locked depositors out of their U.S. dollar savings.

Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, now compounded by a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Hassab Diab on Thursday voiced skepticism over Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh's latest remarks about the lira exchange rate.

Protesters are furious over the rapid slide of the Lebanese pound, which has plummeted in value by more than 50 percent since last summer.

Lebanese banks, many of which are owned by prominent politicians, have since September imposed restrictions on dollar withdrawals and transfers, forcing the public to deal in the nose-diving Lebanese pound.

"My salary is barely enough for me and my small family", said Alaa Khodr, a 34-year-old protester from Tripoli, who fears he may lose his job at an NGO "at any moment".

The banking association declared all banks in Tripoli shut from Tuesday until security is restored, saying they had been targeted in "serious attacks and rioting".

Since 17 October, 2019, Lebanon has witnessed popular protests, as demonstrators demanded political and economic reforms.

In the southern city of Sidon, protesters threw stones and fire crackers at the central bank headquarters late Monday, state media said.

The attack came a day after Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanese bank deposits had plunged $5.7 billion in the first two months of the year, despite curbs on withdrawals and a ban on transfers overseas.

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