Demonstrators block roads in Lebanon protest over dire economy

Protesters blocked roads across Lebanon on Sunday evening to protest the deteriorating economic situation, despite a foreclosure and a curfew imposed due to the coronavirus, according to the official news agency.

Police quickly intervened to reopen the highways where the protesters burned tires to block the roads, the national news agency ANI said.

In the Zalqa area, northeast of Beirut, six people were injured, Lebanese Red Cross official Rodney Eid told AFP without providing further details.

An AFP photographer saw protesters ignite tires on the highway north of the capital, on the outskirts of Dbaiyeh, before the army and police intervened.

Protesters also mobilized in the main city in northern Tripoli, according to ANI.

And south of Beirut, young people burned tires on the road to Damour, the agency said.

Demonstrators recently organized several daytime protests, including a convoy of cars to the capital last week, despite the coronavirus lockout and the night curfew.

A nationwide protest movement erupted in October last year, with hundreds of thousands demonstrating against the ruling elite and rampant critics who claim to have brought the economy to its knees.

The worst economic crisis in Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war is now compounded by the closure of the coronavirus. Poverty has reached 45% of the population, according to official estimates.

Its economy is expected to contract by 12% in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The Lebanese pound also fell against the dollar, causing high inflation.