(18 Oct 2019) Lebanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Beirut early on Friday after they tried to push through security barriers around the government headquarters.
The protests erupted over the government’s plan to impose new taxes during a severe economic crisis, with people taking their anger out on politicians they accuse of corruption and decades of mismanagement.
The protests started with a few dozen people gathering in central Beirut over the imposition of a daily fee on messaging applications, including WhatsApp.
It quickly escalated into some of the biggest demonstrations since an uprising over a garbage crisis in 2015, with thousands of people taking part.
People gathered near the government headquarters and parliament building where riot police were deployed.
Some protesters threw stones, shoes and water bottles at security forces and scuffled with police.
Security forces said at least 40 of its members were injured in the clashes.
Protesters were also injured.
Police showed restraint as they were pelted with stones for several hours, firing volleys of tear gas only after protesters broke through the first security barrier near the
Police chased protesters through the streets of Beirut’s commercial district through the night.
The protests could plunge Lebanon into a political crisis with unpredictable repercussions for the economy which has been in steady decline.
Some of the protesters said they would stay in the streets until the government resigns.
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