Watch: Lebanese looters ransack furniture shop in central Beirut

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Several Lebanese protesters burned dumpsters and ransacked a furniture shop in Beirut’s upscale shopping district, smashing its storefront and removing a couch before police dispersed them.

Hundreds of Lebanese protesters took to the streets on Saturday to voice outrage over the government’s handling of a deep economic crisis, with security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse rock-throwing demonstrators.

The first major protests since the government rolled back coronavirus lockdown measures come as Beirut negotiates an International Monetary Fund package it hopes will secure billions of dollars in support for its collapsing economy.

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Other protesters waved banners demanding better living conditions and called for early parliamentary elections, tougher measures to fight corruption and the disarming of the Shiaite paramilitary group Hezbollah.

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Splinters in Lebanon protests emerge as some call for Hezbollah disarmament

Lebanon protesters stand off with Hezbollah, Amal supporters

Lebanon’s economic woes have reached new depths in recent months. The pound currency has lost more than half of its value, prices have soared, and companies dealing with the double blow of the coronavirus have axed jobs.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab took office in January with the support of the Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies after the previous government was toppled by the protests that erupted last October.

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