Minor protests break out in Lebanon in third night of unrest, Sidon c. bank torched
Small protests fueled by worsening economic conditions in Lebanon broke out across several cities late on Wednesday, marking a third night of unrest.
Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic crisis that has seen its currency lose more than half its value since October, soaring inflation, and spiraling unemployment.
In the northern city of Tripoli, protesters lobbed fireworks and stones at soldiers who pushed them back with rubber bullets.
Watch: Banks in #Lebanon’s northern city of #Tripoli were left with charred buildings and broken windows following overnight clashes between the army and protesters as anger over a spiraling economic crisis.#LebanonProtestshttps://t.co/38XP5LwosD pic.twitter.com/VzhfdD0JHp— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 29, 2020
In the southern city of Sidon, demonstrators set a central bank building ablaze with petrol bombs for a second night.
The latest wave of unrest comes after a plunge in the value of the pound currency last week that has threatened to further hike prices in the import-dependent country.
Protesters in #Tripoli have begun burning banks as hunger is on the rise. Lebanon's second largest city is one of the poorest areas in the country, and life has become more difficult for many there. Read more here: https://t.co/6gEwad1yh6 pic.twitter.com/Ilpp32UXUH— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 28, 2020
Banks that have locked savers out of their US dollar accounts in a bid to preserve scarce hard currency have been primary targets in recent days, with bank fronts burned and ATMs smashed in several cities.
The unrest comes as Beirut is on the verge of finalizing an economic rescue plan that will form the basis of negotiations with foreign bondholders after defaulting on its debt last month in a bid to preserve cash for vital imports.