Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Dozens injured during anti-lockdown protests in Tripoli, Lebanon | News of the protests

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The Lebanese Red Cross said 45 injured during protests against the lockdown which worsened the economic crisis.

At least 45 people were injured in overnight clashes in northern Lebanon between security forces and protesters angered by a coronavirus lockdown that exacerbated their economic hardship, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

At least nine of the injured were treated in hospital after clashes in the city of Tripoli, the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

In the second protest in as many days, protesters shelled government offices with stones and blocked off a main square.

The army was deployed to contain the rioters, who set a vehicle parked in the area on fire, according to the Lebanese National News Agency.

At least 30 people were injured in similar clashes in Tripoli on Monday evening as frustration over the strict coronavirus restrictions boiled over.

Army soldiers are deployed in clashes with protesters to protest the lockdown and deteriorating economic conditions amid the spread of COVID. Tripoli, Lebanon, January 26, 2021 [Omar Ibrahim/Reuters]

Tripoli was already one of the poorest regions in Lebanon even before the pandemic turned into new misery in chronic economic crisis.

Many of its residents have been left with no income since Lebanon imposed a full lockdown earlier this month in a bid to stem a spike in COVID-19 cases and prevent its hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Authorities last week extended the lockdown for two weeks, angering day laborers and other vulnerable groups.

A 24-hour curfew is in effect across the country, and grocery purchases are limited to home deliveries, which are often unavailable in poorer areas.

Lebanese soldier fires rubber bullet at anti-government protesters amid clashes in Tripoli on January 26, 2021 [Fathi al-Masri/AFP]

Severe economic crisis

Lebanon, a country of more than six million people – including more than one million refugees – is going through an unprecedented economic crisis that precedes the pandemic and the restrictions imposed to combat it.

The country has recorded more than 285,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 2,470 deaths since the pandemic outbreak last year. On Tuesday, it hit a new daily record for COVID-19 deaths, registering 73 deaths.

The epidemic has exacerbated an economic crisis that has seen more than half of the population fall below the poverty line, a quarter of whom live in extreme poverty.

Authorities say they have started making monthly payments of 400,000 Lebanese pounds (about $ 50 at market rate) to some 230,000 families.

But the acting Minister of Social Affairs, Ramzi Musharrafieh, admitted on Tuesday that three quarters of the population needed financial assistance.



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