Tensions continue to flare in Lebanon as violent protests against economic hardship erupted again in Tripoli and other Lebanese cities on Tuesday, according to local and state media.
In defiance of a coronavirus lockdown, protesters in Tripoli threw Molotov cocktails at the central bank, set dumpsters on fire and hurled rocks and firecrackers at security forces. In turn, security forces responded with rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who numbered in the hundreds.
At least seven people were taken to nearby hospitals and 15 others were treated at the scene, the Lebanese Red Cross said on its Twitter account.
Covid-19 restrictions worsen financial crisis: Lebanon’s economy, like many others around the world, was brought to a screeching halt by a government-imposed lockdown designed to stop the spread of coronavirus. But the restrictions have further exacerbated the country’s deep and long-running financial crisis.
Since a popular uprising gripped the country late in 2019, its currency has dropped and it defaulted on its debt for the first time. Now, after nearly two months of lockdown, food prices are soaring and the Lebanese lira is in free fall.
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the World Bank projected that 45% of people in Lebanon would be below the poverty line in 2020. Now, the government believes that up to 75% of people are in need of aid, Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Musharrafieh told CNN.