Lebanese prime minister resigns amid nationwide protests

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Lebanon’s embattled Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday he is handing in his resignation to the president after he hit a “dead end” amid nationwide anti-government protests

Hariri spoke on day 13 of the protests, an unprecedented united expression of anger at what demonstrators call a corrupt and inefficient political class in power for decades. 

“For 13 days, the Lebanese people have waited for a decision for a political solution that stops the deterioration,” Hariri said Tuesday, BBC News reported. “And I have tried, during this period, to find a way out, through which to listen to the voice of the people.”

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“It has become necessary for us to make a great shock to fix the crisis,” he said.

Tension had been building for months as the government searched for new ways to levy taxes to manage the country’s economic crisis and soaring debt. The trigger for the protests, in the end, was news that the government was planning, among other measures, to impose a tax on WhatsApp calls. 

Protesters have called on the government to step down, holding rallies in public squares, and promoting a civil disobedience campaign that includes blocking main roads.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference after a cabinet session at the Baabda palace
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference after a cabinet session at the Baabda palace, Lebanon October 21, 2019. MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS

Hariri’s comments were quickly cheered by the few protesters who had returned to the epicenter of the protests in central Beirut. A mob had broken up the protest camp shortly before Hariri spoke – tensions that reflected the division among politicians over how to handle the crisis.     

Hariri called on all Lebanese to protect civil peace and prevent further economic deterioration. He said he will present his resignation to President Michel Aoun. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Lebanese prime minister resigns amid nationwide protests

Lebanon’s embattled Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday he is handing in his resignation to the president after he hit a “dead end” amid nationwide anti-government protests. Hariri spoke on day 13 of the protests, an unprecedented united expression of anger at what demonstrators call a corrupt and inefficient political class in power for decades.

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