08:56 GMT +314 November 2019
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    An anti-government protester adds to a makeshift barricade blocking a highway that links to north Lebanon in east Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019

    Lebanese Protesters Block Roads in Beirut Amid General Strike

    © REUTERS / Hussein Malla
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    BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Lebanese protesters took to the streets in Beirut on Monday, blocking the main streets in the capital and the northern route in what is the fifth straight day of anti-government protests.

    "The highway and the northern coast road, as well as roads in Beirut, have been shut. Activists set trash cans and tires on fire and are building barricades from materials at hand," a protester said.

    The unrest follows calls for a general strike sparked by the government’s attempts to raise money from a tobacco tax and internet calls, but the focus has now turned to its failure to address the economic crisis.

    Banks, government offices, universities, schools and large stores closed after protesters smashed the fronts of some businesses in the city centre over the weekend.

    Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Sunday that he was considering halving ministerial salaries and abolishing some government committees in a bid to save money.

    With the nation's debt expected to pass 150 percent of its gross domestic product, the Lebanese government is in a race against the clock to agree on reforms needed to unlock billions in foreign aid.

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    Beirut, anti-government protests, block, Lebanon
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