Lebanese demonstrators block roads

Lebanese demonstrators block roads
Protesters blocked several main roads across Lebanon on Friday (January 17) as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month. 

The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 has resurged this week, over delays in forming a new cabinet to address the country's growing economic crisis.

In central Beirut, dozens of protesters Friday stood between parked cars blocking a key thoroughfare linking the city's east and west.

"We blocked the road with cars because it's something they can't move," Marwan Karam said.

The protester condemned what he regarded as efforts to form yet another government in which power is divided among the traditional parties.

"We don't want a government of masked political figures," the 30-year-old told AFP. "Any such government will fall. We won't give it any chance in the street."

But fixing the country's spiralling economic crisis is now protesters' most pressing need, explained FRANCE 24's Leila Molana-Allen, reporting from Beirut. 

Can't pay for their daily necessities

"People are losing their jobs, they’re losing the hours they work, the currency is also in a sharp downward tilt. Prices have gone up. We’ve seen thirty-five to forty percent inflation in just the last three months. The average price of a shopping basket has gone up that much," said Molana-Allen. 

Forming a new cabinet is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex system seeks to maintain balance between the various political parties and a multitude of religious confessions.

Carlos Yammine, 32, said he did not want yet another "cake-sharing government".

"What we have asked for from the start of the movement is a reduced, transitional, emergency government of independents," he said, leaning against his car.

Demonstrators also blocked roads in second city Tripoli Friday morning, although they were cleared later in the day, local media reported. Protests also took place in the southern port city of Tyre later in the day.

Based on FRANCE 24, AFP

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