Lebanese protest for 9th day amid businesses’ paralysis

BEIRUT, Lebanese demanding basic administrative reforms and clampdown on corruption pursued on Friday nationwide demonstrations blocking key roads and intersections amid ongoing closure of public institutions, banks, schools and universities.

The demonstrators are marching to the downtown Martyrs and Riad Al-Solh public squares and other plazas throughout the country, a day after President Michel Aoun declared his readiness to host representatives of the activists to discuss their demands and examine cabinet reshuffle.

The official National News Agency (NNA) said the protestors blocked main roads leading to the capital, in addition to the highways to south and north.

The key road from Beirut to the eastern Bekaa region was also blocked at several towns including the resorts of Bhamdoun and Chtoura.

The demonstrations have continued despite a plan of reforms recently declared by Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, promising a package of immediate measures to remedy the administration. He also promised a drastic 50 percent cut of senior civil servants’ salaries and taxes on the banks.

The unrest has recently broken out when the government decided to impose a tax on some internet communications services. Although such as a fee may be relatively insignificant for some segments of the society, it came as, the Arab proverb says, “the straw that has broken the camel spine,” topping a series of previous taxes that constituted a heavy burden on the majority of low-income Lebanese.

Source: Kuwait News Agency