Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said on Wednesday that the clashes which took place in Beirut’s Al Hamra street are “unacceptable,” amid protesters setting garbage dumpsters on fire and smashing the Lebanese central bank’s storefronts and ATMs.
In renewed demonstrations against the government, Lebanese protesters burned tires and garbage dumpster, blocked roads and brought traffic in Beirut to a standstill on Tuesday.
Lebanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters in order to disperse them. However, protesters threw stones, fireworks, and tear gas canisters back at riot police. Calling on protesters to leave Al Hamra street, Lebanon’s internal security forces said they should disperse “for their safety or else they will be deemed rioters and will be chased.”
During the clashes, Security forces also fired live rounds into the air, injuring at least 20 people from both sides, according to Lebanese local media. However, the civil defence said it treated some protesters and police who suffered injuries without giving a toll.
Commenting on the rising actions in Lebanon, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis said “politicians, don’t blame the people, blame yourselves for this dangerous chaos.”
He also criticised the Banque du Liban, explaining that the governor of the bank is “requesting extraordinary powers to at least somehow manage the economy,” referring to Riad Salameh request for more authority to regulate controls being implemented by commercial banks.
Al-Hariri called also for cooperating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank over Lebanon’s economy, which is in a deep crisis. However, this step should be overseen by a new government and not the current caretaker cabinet.
He explained that the cabinet cannot act on the economic crisis, as any steps toward solving the economic crisis needs the World Bank’s cooperation and the IMF, which require Lebanon to reform “a new government and not refloating a government that resigned at the request of the street.”