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Banks

Protesters block Lebanon roads for third day as economy falters

A demonstrator walks past burning tires and garbage bins blocking a road, during a protest against the fall of the Lebanese pound and mounting economic hardships, in Beirut, Lebanon March 4, 2021. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Demonstrators blocked main roads in several parts of Lebanon on Thursday in a third day of protests as anger over the country’s economic downturn grows.

Protests started on Tuesday after the currency tumbled to a new low, enraging a population long horrified by the country’s financial meltdown.

Lebanon’s financial crisis, which erupted in 2019, has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.

On Thursday evening, protesters burnt tyres to block roads leading out of Beirut in Jal el Dib and Furn al-Shebak. The main road was also blocked in Zouk district to the north of the capital, with tensions sometimes arising between motorists wanting to drive through and demonstrators.

In the past year, Lebanon has been through a popular uprising against its political leaders, the bankruptcy of the state and banking system, a COVID-19 pandemic and, in August, a huge blast that killed 200 people and destroyed parts of Beirut.

The collapse of the Lebanese pound, which fell to 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday was the last straw for many who have seen prices of consumer goods such as diapers or cereals nearly triple since the crisis erupted.

Reporting By Maha El Dahan, Editing by William Maclean

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