Protesters in Lebanon block major highways

Written by Staff Writer by Tara Curhan, CNN

Lebanon’s worsening economic crisis prompted more than 40,000 protestors to take to the streets of Beirut on Saturday, blocking major roadways and shattering decades of calm.

The day was the latest chapter in a now month-long protest movement over Lebanon’s economic woes, sparked by the country’s falling currency as well as increased joblessness and the poor performance of the country’s public and private sectors.

Thousands of protesters marched on government buildings in Beirut and the city’s southern suburbs, leaving key intersections blocked in the upscale neighborhoods of Talaat Hariri Square and Baya District,

“This is one last time, before the US administration leaves, that we send a message that we aren’t going to be blackmailed by the greed of bankers and the security services,” said Akram Azem, an organizer and presenter for Al-Akhbar TV.

Akhbar is one of the main outlets for the opposition Lebanese Forces’ social media accounts.

The Lebanese government’s leaders have so far been largely unsuccessful in persuading the political blocs to back a revised economic program.

Protesters carried banners denouncing “the delusional economic policy” of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and saying he wasn’t doing enough to stop the spread of unemployment and inflation.

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds as they took to the streets. Some demonstrators said they would remain in the streets until officials dropped measures related to fiscal reform and the introduction of value-added tax.

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