The protesters demanded the authorities to put an end to the economic collapse in Lebanon, and to hold accountable those they described as causing the waste of public money
On Tuesday, protesters blocked a number of roads in the Lebanese capital Beirut and the city of Sidon with burning tires to denounce the deteriorating economic and living conditions, after the value of the local currency, the lira, plunged to a record level of about 10 thousand pounds per dollar.
Reuters reported that dozens of protesters set fire to tires to block streets in central Beirut and on the road to the airport and near the city of Baalbek. And local media said that other protesters closed an exchange office in the southern city of Sidon.
The French Press Agency reported that the protests included Beirut and Sidon in the south, Tripoli in the north, and towns in the eastern Bekaa region. The Anadolu correspondent stated that the protesters closed Al-Nour Square in Tripoli and main roads with burning tires to protest the living conditions, and protesters closed the Taalabaya intersection in the Bekaa with burning tires in both directions to denounce the deterioration of the living situation and the high exchange rate of the dollar.
The protesters’ demands
The protesters called on the authorities to put an end to the economic collapse in the country, and to hold accountable those they described as causing the waste of public money, and a female demonstrator said to one of the local channels, “They push us towards begging, they starve us … we stayed at home all the past period and then the port explosion occurred and they did not form a government … This ruling class. “
The traffic organization website of the Internal Security Forces reported that a number of young men blocked several roads inside the capital Beirut, most of which are concentrated at the entrances to the southern suburbs. According to the traffic organization, patrols from the Internal Security Forces diverted traffic towards the secondary roads.
With the #Dollar selling for 10,000 lira to $1 and over half the day without electricity, people are taking to the streets to protest and express their rate at the situation. Many roads across #Lebanon are now being blocked. #Lebanon Lebanon is rising #Lebanon_not okay #Dollars pic.twitter.com/5g6AVb9jm7
– Nicholas Frakes | Nicholas Frix (@nicfrakesjourno) March 2, 2021
The collapse of the lira
These protests come after the collapse of the value of the Lebanese pound to unprecedented levels, as the dollar exchange rate reached 10 thousand Lebanese pounds yesterday. The exchange rate of the lira fell to 9,800 in the summer, before gradually increasing. And over the past weeks, it has maintained a rate of between 8,000 and 8,500 per dollar.
The decline in the local currency is reflected in the prices of goods, foodstuffs, and everything that is imported from abroad. Commodity prices have risen by 144%, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, and the significant drop in the value of the lira has led to a significant decline in the purchasing power of citizens, as the minimum wage is about $ 70 per month.
Due to the economic and financial crisis that Lebanon has been suffering since 2019, more than half of the population is below the poverty line.