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Clashes between security forces and demonstrators near the parliament in Beirut

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — On Tuesday morning, clashes broke out between the security forces and demonstrators who gathered in the streets leading to the parliament headquarters in downtown Beirut, in protest against a parliamentary session supposed to be held to discuss the ministerial statement of the government in preparation for giving it confidence.

The demonstrators are trying to block the arrival of the deputies to the headquarters of the House of Representatives to prevent it from taking place due to their refusal to give confidence to the government headed by Hassan Diab. They see that this government is not fulfilling demands they made for months to form a government of specialists and completely independent of traditional political parties.

The security forces and the army imposed a security cordon around the parliament headquarters, and several roads were closed with huge concrete barriers to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the parliament building.

Since the morning, the demonstrators gathered on several streets leading to the House of Representatives, and confrontations erupted in one of the roads between them and the security forces who threw stones at them, while they responded using water cannons and tear gas, according to an AFP photographer.

On another street, demonstrators sat on the ground to block a road that MPs could take, but the army officers tried to prevent them, which led to a stampede between the two parties. Protesters told local media that they were beaten by the military.

The army said in a tweet that “the riots and encroachment on public and private property distort the demands and do not fulfill them and do not fall into the category of expression of opinion.”

In downtown Beirut, Carroll said, preferring not to mention her full name, to Agence France Presse, “I am here to say ‘I do not trust’ this government, because the way it was formed does not make us trust it,” adding, “The country cannot complete in the same way.”

Despite the spread of demonstrators in the vicinity of the Council, a number of deputies succeeded in reaching the seat of Parliament. A number of them arrived early even before the start of the demonstrations, and one of them used a motorbike to cross, according to local media, which also indicated that deputies spent the night inside their offices.

As one of the ministers tried to reach the area, protesters stood in front of the car and pelted her with eggs, and one of them shouted, “Get on! Get on!” However, the security forces removed the demonstrators by force, and opened barbed wire in front of the car to enter it.

– “The people will not give confidence” –

“We are here to say that even if MPs give confidence to the government, the people will not grant it,” said Christopher, 26, adding that “MPs do not represent the people and have lost their legitimacy.”

He added that although the new ministers were specialists, “they should have been independent of the parties that ruined the country and, of course, they will not reform it.”

The demonstrators held banners reading “No confidence” and “Certainly we have confidence, you will help banks to make people appear” in reference to the strict measures imposed by banks months ago on cash operations and depositors withdrawing their money.

Since October 17, Lebanon has witnessed unprecedented demonstrations against the political class, which the Lebanese accuse of failing to manage successive political and economic crises, whose pace has receded after Diab formed his government.

Parliament is supposed to convene on Tuesday and Wednesday, and several parties, most notably the Future Movement led by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, announced their intention not to give confidence to the government.

Diab formed the government last month from twenty ministers, most of whom are unknown, and from academics and specialists. They were chosen to avoid names that protesters would consider provocative.

However, protesters, who have been protesting for months against the entire political class, see that the new government is only a front for one political team, from Hezbollah and its allies, and the new ministers represent only the parties that have named them.

The new government faces major challenges, especially at the economic and financial levels, in light of the rapid economic deterioration, the liquidity crisis and the accumulation of public debt to about ninety billion dollars, equivalent to more than 150 percent of GDP.

The Lebanese government unanimously approved the ministerial statement on the sixth of this month, which includes the titles of its plan of action in the coming period, and referred it to parliament for confidence.

After gaining confidence and directing its work, the government hopes that it will enjoy the support of the international community, which links its financial support to Lebanon with structural reforms in several sectors and the reduction of the public deficit.

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