08:34 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Protest over deteriorating economic situation, in Dora, Lebanon

    Lebanese Christian Party Ministers Resign From Government Amid Protests

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    DOHA (Sputnik) - Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian-based political party Lebanese Forces, announced the resignation of its ministers from the coalition government amid massive anti-government protests.

    "The country is facing unprecedented challenges. We do not have confidence in the government’s ability to implement reforms, we don’t see any serious intention on the part of Lebanese decision-makers to deal with crises," Geagea said at a press conference broadcast by AlHadath TV channel. Among the government members who will resign are Deputy Prime Minister Ghassan Hasbani, as well as ministers of social affairs, labour and the state minister.

    Earlier, Geagea addressed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri with a request to resign.

    Hariri said on Saturday that he had consulted with several members of the government in search of a way out of the difficult economic situation. On Friday night, he gave the government 72 hours to present a plan for overcoming the crisis.

    On Saturday, Hariri met with a number of ministers, including ministers of finance and industry, to discuss measures to avert the country's economic crisis, which provoked massive anti-government demonstrations. On Friday night, the prime minister gave the government 72 hours to develop such measures.

    Lebanese President Michel Aoun met with protesters on Friday, saying he "understands their feelings" and later wrote on Twitter that "there will be an encouraging solution" to the Lebanese crisis.

    The Lebanese cabinet is expected to convene on Sunday to discuss ways out of this critical situation.

    Since Thursday, Beirut and other cities in Lebanon have been gripped by protests with the demonstrators demanding that the government resign and action be taken to cope with the worsening economic situation amid a financial blockade and sanctions. The protesters blocked off major highways. In central Beirut, the rallies turned violent as the demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police, while the security forces resorted to stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas.

    The rallies erupted as the government sought to raise additional funds by introducing a $6 monthly tax on online calls made via WhatsApp and other mobile applications. The tax was abandoned as the protests gained momentum. However, the rallies continued with dozens of people injured in the clashes between the security forces and the protesters.

    Related:

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    Bahrain Calls on Citizens to Immediately Leave Lebanon Over Unrest – Foreign Ministry
    Lebanon Cancels Tax on WhatsApp Calls in Wake of Mass Protests - Communications Minister
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