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    Lebanon's President Michel Aoun is pictured as he addresses the nation at the Baabda palace, Lebanon October 24, 2019

    Lebanese President Ready to Meet With Protesters' Representatives to Discuss Their Demands

    © REUTERS / Dalati Nohra
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Mass protests rocked Lebanon earlier in the month after the government moved to introduce a $6 monthly tax on online calls made via mobile applications. Even though the tax was scrapped, the rallies continue, with dozens of people injured in clashes between security forces and protesters.

    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.

    Anti-government protesters shout slogans against the Lebanese government during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The blaze of protests was unleashed a day earlier when the government announced a slate of new proposed taxes, including a $6 monthly fee for using Whatsapp voice calls. The measures set a spark to long-smoldering anger against top leaders from the president and prime minister to the numerous factional figures many blame for decades of corruption and mismanagement. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
    © AP Photo / Hassan Ammar
    Anti-government protesters shout slogans against the Lebanese government during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

    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.

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    Michel Aoun, tax, Protests, Lebanon
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