BEIRUT ( Associated Press) – A general strike by public transport and labor unions paralyzed Lebanon on Thursday as the country grapples with one of the world’s worst economic crises.
The move comes at a time when the ruling class of the country has done almost nothing to lift the country out of recession rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement.
The political class that has run the small nation of 6 million people since the 1975-90 civil war, including 1 million Syrian refugees, is protesting reforms demanded by the international community.
Universities and schools were closed across Lebanon and many people were unable to get to work due to road closures.
Protesters blocked the country’s major highways as well as roads inside cities and towns from 5 a.m. The nationwide protest, dubbed a “day of anger”, is set to last 12 hours.
Taxi and truck drivers used their vehicles to block roads to protest the sharp rise in fuel prices after the government removed subsidies. They are again demanding to get subsidized fuel.
In the capital of Beirut, many roads were blocked by large dustbins and vehicles.
About 80% of people in Lebanon live in poverty when the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value. According to the World Bank, Lebanon’s economy shrank 20.3 in 2020 and about 7% last year.
Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2022 released on Thursday that the “corrupt and incompetent Lebanese authorities deliberately” have plunged the country into one of the worst economic crises in modern times, demonstrating a disregard for the rights of the population .
Aya Mazjoub, a Lebanese researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “The international community needs to use every tool at its disposal to pressure Lebanese policymakers to implement the reforms needed to get Lebanon out of this crisis.” called upon.” He said they should include imposing sanctions against leaders responsible for “ongoing serious human rights violations”.