Lebanese President Michel Aoun, in his first televised address to the nation on the eighth day of anti-government protests, announced his readiness to meet with protesters' representatives and discuss possible solutions to the situation.
"I address the demonstrators and protesters: I am ready to meet with your representatives to listen to your specific demands. And you will listen to our thoughts and concerns regarding the financial collapse of the country. We will discuss what we need to do together to meet your demands and avoid chaos and breakdown," Aoun said in a statement broadcast by Lebanese television channels.
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.