Lebanese take to streets to protest economic collapse as currency hits all-time low

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets across Lebanon Tuesday to protest the incompetence of politicians as the country’s economic collapse continued and the local currency hit an all-time low.

Protests and the blocking of roads took place in several cities and towns, including outside the capital of Beirut.

The Lebanese pound, which has been pegged to the US dollar since 1997, was trading at nearly 10,000LL to the dollar on the black-market Tuesday.

The local currency has been plummeting for over a year and politicians have failed to agree on a plan that would allow international aid from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other foreign donors.

Lebanon has been facing political and economic uncertainty since October of 2019 after the resignation Saad Hariri following a series of nationwide anti-government protests.

Activist Widad Taleb told Al Arabiya English that it was time for new political parties and alternative groups to take the lead to correct the mistakes of the current political elite.

“Honestly, there is no alternative to solving the crisis the country is witnessing without bringing down the entire ruling class,” Taleb said.

Ali Noureddine, another activist, believes that change is only possible through the current system in the upcoming election.

“The solution in my opinion is the unification of all new alternative forces, even if the choice of taking down to the streets is hard; I do believe that change is possible. We should organize this unified alternative platform to fight in the next electoral battles, including the municipal and parliamentary elections,” Noureddine added.

Parliamentary elections are slated for next year.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has been witnessing increased power outages as the Central Bank delays payments for government-backed fuel subsidies due to depletion of reserves in foreign currency.

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