Politics & Economics

Lebanon: Poor Living Conditions Force Lebanese To Take To The Streets

Middle East

Protests broke out in various parts of Lebanon, including the capital Beirut, as well as northern and southern cities, demanding improvements to the economy.

The protests in Lebanon, despite their non-violent nature and peaceful intentions, have intensified as people in Beirut have begun to block the streets through sit-ins and have even attempted to raid the Grand Serail, the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Lebanon.

The initial protests were met with little response from the political authorities in the country and so protesters unleashed their frustrations over the weekend in order to bring more attention to the grievances of the populace. Most of those involved in the protests are not affiliated with any political party and so their dissatisfaction is directed at the general political establishment and not a particular political party of confessional unit.

Indeed, placards were held in the demonstrations emphasising the non-sectarian nature of the protests, which are largely motivated by economic grievances and directed at the lack of economic reforms.

Nevertheless, the economic demands are also political in nature as they are addressed to a political establishment that they see as corrupt and one that appropriates public money for personal use.

The protests in Lebanon came on the back of a report released by pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in which it was stated that the country is facing its worst economic crisis in 5 years.

Factors that are said to have the potential to push the country towards an economic crisis are the large budget deficit, one of the highest in the world, a bloated public sector, leading to the delay in the payments of public sector workers, a private sector in decline, a lack of economic reform, and the political crisis in neighbouring Syria, which has had adverse effects on the Lebanese economy.

In addition, it has been noted that there is also an absence of the US Dollar in the local Lebanese market, leading to a reliance on a weak local currency.