Lebanese government approves economic rescue plan: Official source

Lebanese government approves economic rescue plan: Official source

When mass protests erupted across Lebanon in October against perceived official graft and mismanagement, Tripoli fast became known as the "bride" of the street movement.

President Michel Aoun called it a "historic day" for Lebanon.

The facades of several banks were smashed with at least one set on fire as protests fuelled by Lebanon's economic crisis turned violent in the northern city of Tripoli overnight, a witness said.

The tiny Mediterranean country of about 5 million people is one the most indebted in the world, with the national debt forming almost 170% of the GDP.

The cabinet approved the plan after "minor amendments", the first official source said, adding that the question of the exchange rate was not decided on.

"Today is a historic day for Lebanon, because for the first time it endorses an economic-financial plan, after lack of planning and the lack of prospects for the future that nearly brought the country to ruin", President Michel Aoun said at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting.

Worldwide donors have long demanded that Lebanon institute major economic changes and anti-corruption measures to unlock $11 billion in pledges made in 2018.

A Lebanese demonstrator gestures to a Lebanese soldier during a protest against the collapsing Lebanese pound currency and the price hikes, in Zouk, north of Beirut, Lebanon.

Lebanon saw intense rioting on Tuesday as hundreds of protesters clashed with soldiers in Tripoli for a second day. "I think this Government should resign", Tripoli lawyer Fahed Moukaddem said.

A Lebanese protester kicks the entrance of a bank in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon late on April 29, 2020.

Anti-government protests are continuing in Lebanon since last October, calling for economic and social reforms, an overhaul of the ruling class and an end to corruption.

But protesters have hit the streets again in recent days in defiance of the lockdown, railing against the slump in the pound and rocketing inflation.

Asked whether the International Monetary Fund will provide Lebanon with $15 billion, the premier said the amount is being negotiated.

The growing unrest threatens to tip Lebanon into more serious conflict, even as Beirut looks to pass an economic rescue plan and enter negotiations with foreign creditors after defaulting on its hefty debt obligations last month.

Related Articles