Lebanon’s police clear protest camps in Beirut as coronavirus curfew takes effect

Protestors told local media that police came at 6:30 p.m. without any warning and told them to leave immediately. (File/AFP)
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Updated 28 March 2020

Lebanon’s police clear protest camps in Beirut as coronavirus curfew takes effect

  • Coronavirus has so far killed eight people and infected 391
  • The protest camps have been a permanent fixture in Downtown Beirut since anti-government protests

Lebanese riot police cleared dozens of protesters camps in Downtown Beirut on Friday evening as the country’s curfew measures came into effect, local media reported.

Protestors told local media, The Daily Star, that police came at 6:30 p.m. without any warning and told them to leave immediately.

“When people refused, they attacked and destroyed every tent,” one protester told the daily.

The protest camps have been a permanent fixture in Downtown Beirut since nationwide anti-government protests erupted on Oct. 17 last year.

Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad said on Thursday that the coronavirus lockdown measures would be extended by an additional two weeks and announced the introduction of a curfew between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.

Coronavirus lockdown measures were first introduced on March 15 and were due to end by March 29 but have now been extended until April 12 as the country continues to battle against the virus. The virus has so far killed eight people and infected 391.


Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

Updated 55 min 43 sec ago

Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti government said it wants to cut the migrant proportion of its population from 70 to 30 percent to address what it called a population discrepancy. 
State media quoted the country’s prime minister saying that the state of Kuwait was facing a “big challenge” in its population structure and that it shall start relying on its citizens to replace foreign workers. 
Out of 4.8 million inhabitants, some 3.3 million are foreign nationals and 1.45 million are Kuwaitis, said Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah.
"The ideal demographic situation would be that Kuwaitis make up 70 percent of the population and non-Kuwaitis 30 percent," he said.
"So we face a big challenge in the future which is to address the discrepancy in population."
He said there were 75,000 foreign domestic helpers in the country, which equal half the population of Kuwaiti nationals. 
“We rely on our sons and daughters to work in all professions,” Al-Sabah added.

Kuwait has a large foreign population mostly made up of Middle Eastern and Asian workers.

Kuwait Airways said last week it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to "significant difficulties" caused by the pandemic.