Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigns after the protests gets violent

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during an address to the nation in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Lebanon’s embattled prime minister says he is presenting his resignation to the president after he hit a “dead end” amid nationwide anti-government protests.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Tuesday he was resigning, surrendering to the demands of protesters who have staged nationwide demonstrations for nearly two weeks.

The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political opponents, for less than two years. In recent months, the country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices.

On October 17, the government proposed imposing a tax on Whatsapp calls, along with other austerity measures, sparking protests that paralyzed the country. Lebanon has been under lockdown since the protests began. Banks and schools have been closed for 12 days, while protesters blocked major routes throughout the tiny eastern Mediterranean nation.

“I can’t hide this from you. I have reached a dead-end,” Hariri said in his resignation speech. “To all my political peers, our responsibility today is how to protect Lebanon and to uplift the economy,” he added. “Today, there is a serious opportunity and we should not waste it.”

Huge crowd of protesters in downtown Beirut cheered as Hariri announced his departure. At their peak, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest government corruption on Sunday.

Over the last week, protests have reduce in number, concentrating on road closures on main routes as the economic crisis has deepened.


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