One Killed as ‘WhatsApp Tax’ Protests Grip Lebanon; PM Refuses to Step Down
Tens of thousands of protesters blocked roads, burned tyres and marched across Lebanon for a second day on Friday, demanding the removal of a political elite they accuse of looting the economy to the point of breakdown.
Lebanon's biggest protests in a decade are reminiscent of the 2011 Arab revolts that toppled four presidents. They brought people from all sects and walks of life on to the streets, holding banners and chanting slogans calling on the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign.
The prime minister gave in a Friday statement a 72-hour deadline to his "partners in government" to stop obstructing reforms and threatened to take a different approach otherwise, but stopped short of resigning.
Hariri said Lebanon was going through an "unprecedented, difficult time," adding that his efforts to enact reforms have been blocked by others in government whom he did not name.
At sunset, protesters poured through the villages and towns of Lebanon's south, north and east as well as the capital Beirut. No political leader, Muslim or Christian, was spared their wrath.