Lebanese protesters released by security forces, Aoun discusses oil

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Protesters who had been detained following scuffles with security forces in central Beirut on Tuesday night have been released, reported Lebanon's National News Agency on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, protesters gathered in central Beirut to prevent the Lebanese Parliament from opening for a scheduled legislative session which had been criticized by demonstrators as out of sync with the public mood, as anti-government demonstrations showed no signs of stopping.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, who has refused to step down, met with the Caretaker Minister of Energy and Water Resources Nada Boustani on Wednesday. According to the NNA, they discussed the oil and gas exploration process, which Lebanese politicians have touted as a potential savior for the country's struggling economy.

The unrest has hit an already weak economy, including by limiting international assistance to the country. The White House confirmed that it is holding up security assistance valued at more than $100 million, according to a senior State Department official on Wednesday.

Protests have continued across the country, including in the second largest city Tripoli, after Mohammad Safadi withdrew from replacing Saad Hariri as Prime Minister over the weekend. Al Arabiya English spoke to protesters in Tripoli who were mulling the return of Hariri as Prime Minister, amid continued political deadlock.

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