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Lebanon PM resigns amid mass protests

Beirut (QNN)- Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he is resigning on Tuesday, succumbing to the demands of protesters who have staged mass demonstrations for nearly two weeks.

Hariri said Lebanon had reached a deadlock and needed a shock to break the crisis.

“I’m heading to the presidential palace to tender the resignation of the government … This is in response to the will and demand of the thousands of Lebanese demanding change,” he added.

The announcement was met with cheers from protesters in Beirut.

The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. The country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices.

On October 17, the government proposed imposing a tax on Whatsapp calls, along with other austerity measures, sparking nationwide anti-corruption protests that paralyzed the country.

Lebanon has one of the highest debt levels in the world.

The protests have led to a 10-day closure of banks, with many other offices, schools and universities also shut.

Hariri’s announcement came hours after chaos broke out in downtown Beirut when a group of people loyal to the Shia Hezbollah and Amal movements stormed into the capital’s main protest site, setting parts of it alight and tearing up tents on Tuesday afternoon.

The president will now have to consult parliament to form another government – but parliament is made up of the same factions that are in the outgoing coalition.

Whatever they do, they will do it under intense pressure – from the protest movement and from a deepening economic and financial crisis.

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