Lebanese protesters defy virus curfew and take to the streets

Lebanese protesters defy virus curfew and take to the streets
Protests in the northern city of Tripoli. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 April 2020

Lebanese protesters defy virus curfew and take to the streets

Lebanese protesters defy virus curfew and take to the streets
  • Only four new cases, health minister hints at May 10 as decision day for restrictions on movement

BEIRUT: Protesters in Lebanon have defied curfews and lockdowns and taken to the streets again — some demanding permission to reopen their shuttered businesses, others complaining that the pandemic had worsened their already-desperate financial plight.

Barbers and other shop owners held a sit-in in Tripoli, asking the government to allow them to open their shops while adopting precautionary measures.

Protests also erupted in Beirut as young people from Tarik Al-Jadida organized a motorcycle convoy to the home of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, chanting slogans against the increase in prices and the deterioration in living conditions.

Veteran activists from last year’s unrest threatened to “protest in front of homes of politicians, bankers and owners of money exchange offices,” and said “the revolution will show no mercy for the corrupt.”

The General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL), the highest representative body for workers in Lebanon, warned that “neither wealth nor banks, movable, or immovable property, would be spared from people’s wrath.”

The CGTL said it held “the political and financial authorities responsible for the current situation due to bad management, corruption and complicity in everything that led to the crisis.”

Lebanon recorded only four more virus cases on Monday, raising the total to 677, and Health Minister Hamad Hassan hinted at a deadline for the movement restrictions. 

“May 10 might be the right time to take a decision … in light of the decrease in daily recorded cases,” he said. 

“May 15 might be the beginning of a gradual return to schools and universities in Lebanon.”