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Protests rock Beirut as government seeks confidence vote

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:26s - Published
Protests rock Beirut as government seeks confidence vote

Protests rock Beirut as government seeks confidence vote

Hundreds of people were injured in Beirut on Tuesday (February 11) in clashes between security forces and protesters, who tried to stop lawmakers attending a vote of confidence in Lebanon's new government.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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As Lebanon's new government sought a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday (February 11), this "no trust" banner was the protesters' response outside it.

Crowds tried to stop lawmakers even reaching the heavily barricaded parliament, but the session went ahead, as riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators calling for new elections.

Hundreds were injured.

Protesters accuse Lebanon's successive governments of entrenched corruption and decades of state waste; the roots of a financial crisis made worse by months of unrest.

And the new one, they say, is no different.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER FROM BYBLOS, ELIO FARHAT, 25, SAYING: ''We wanted a sovereign independent government of technocrats, not one that follows the same political decisions.

But instead we got a government that's basically carrying out the plan of the one we toppled.

Where's the logic in that?

This is a provocation of the Lebanese people." People smashed and burned this central Beirut bank - not the first to become a lightning-rod for fury.

Banks have curbed access to savings and blocked international transfers, while the Lebanese pound has lost a third of its value.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who took office last month, called for painful steps to address the crisis, and for Lebanon to seek foreign help.

It's already one of the world's most heavily indebted states, and leading politicians are calling for the IMF to push through a rescue plan.



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