Lebanese protesters issue statement, say halting protests is ‘up to the people’

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Lebanese protesters confirmed in a statement on Sunday that the decision whether to halt protests across the country is up to the people.

“The leak of the reform document is not enough and we await a clear plan and the government’s resignation,” added the statement.

An earlier statement by the protesters on Sunday called for snap legislative elections and the cancellation of any additional taxes or fees in the 2019 budget amid widespread unrest that were triggered in part by a decision last week to put a levy on WhatsApp calls.

The statement also called on the resignation of current Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s cabinet and the formation of a mini-technocratic government, stressing the need for the judicial authorities to act swiftly to recover the looted money by the ruling elite.

Hariri agreed on Sunday a package of reforms with government partners to ease an economic crisis that has sparked mass protests across the Mediterranean nation.

The agreement was reached as hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded the streets in the biggest show of dissent against the establishment in decades.

A sea of people, some waving Lebanese flags, crammed roads for the fourth day, calling for revolution in protests that resembled the 2011 Arab revolts that toppled four presidents.

Hariri, who is leading a coalition government mired by sectarian and political rivalries, gave his feuding government partners a 72-hour deadline on Friday to agree reforms that could ward off crisis, hinting he may otherwise resign.

Hariri accused his rivals of obstructing his reform measures that could unlock $11 billion in Western donor pledges and help avert economic collapse.

- With Reuters

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