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Monday, 27 May 2024
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Lebanon enters sixth day of protests as army opens roads
The Lebanese army opened several highways and issued orders banning road blockades in the country. (File photo AFP)

Protesters began gathering in Riad Al Solh Square in Beirut on Tuesday morning as nationwide demonstrations in Lebanon continued for the sixth day.


The Lebanese army opened several highways and issued orders banning road blockades in the country.


On Monday night, the first signs of potential sectarian tensions appeared as Hezbollah and Amal supporters on motorbikes drove to central Beirut and tried to disrupt the protests. However, they were pushed back by the Lebanese army, which has promised to protect protesters, and the disruption was limited.


Protesters have presented a united front and informally banned any symbols except for the Lebanese national flag and the flag of the Lebanese Armed Forces.


Earlier in the day the Lebanese government under Prime Minister Saad Hariri agreed a package of long-stalled reforms to try to ease an economic crisis and defuse the biggest protests against the ruling elite in decades. The cabinet approved a 2020 state budget that does not impose any new taxes on individuals and aims for a deficit of 0.6 percent of GDP, down from a previous target of around 7 percent.


The cabinet measures appeared to have little effect as protesters call for the overthrow of the entire government.


Protests began on Thursday, sparked by a proposed fee on WhatsApp calls and a raise in the price of cigarettes against a backdrop of widespread corruption, political deadlock, and a worsening economic situation including an alleged shortage of dollars.