Photos: Nationwide protest over proposed taxes paralyse Lebanon

Nationwide protests paralyzed Lebanon on Friday as demonstrators blocked major roads in a second day of rallies against the government's handling of a severe economic crisis and the entire country's political class. Schools, banks and businesses shut down as the protests escalated and widened in scope to reach almost every city and province. Hundreds of people burned tires on highways and intersections in suburbs of the capital, Beirut, and in northern and southern cities, sending up clouds of black smoke. The protests were the largest since 2015, and could further destabilize a country already on the verge of collapse and with one of the highest debt loads in the world.

Updated On Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST
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A Lebanese demonstrator displays the word “Revolution” in Arabic on the palm of their hand during a protest against dire economic conditions in Zouk Mikael, north of Beirut. Public anger has simmered since parliament passed an austerity budget in July to help trim a ballooning deficit and flared on Thursday over new plans to tax calls on messaging applications such as Whatsapp, forcing the government to axe the unpopular proposal. (Joseph Eid / AFP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

A Lebanese demonstrator displays the word “Revolution” in Arabic on the palm of their hand during a protest against dire economic conditions in Zouk Mikael, north of Beirut. Public anger has simmered since parliament passed an austerity budget in July to help trim a ballooning deficit and flared on Thursday over new plans to tax calls on messaging applications such as Whatsapp, forcing the government to axe the unpopular proposal. (Joseph Eid / AFP)

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Tens of thousands of protesters blocked roads, burned tyres and marched across Lebanon for a second day on Friday, demanding the removal of a political elite they accuse of looting the economy to the point of breakdown. Lebanon’s biggest protests in a decade are reminiscent of the 2011 Arab revolts that toppled four presidents. They came on to the streets, holding banners and chanting slogans calling on the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign. (Mohamed Azakir / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

Tens of thousands of protesters blocked roads, burned tyres and marched across Lebanon for a second day on Friday, demanding the removal of a political elite they accuse of looting the economy to the point of breakdown. Lebanon’s biggest protests in a decade are reminiscent of the 2011 Arab revolts that toppled four presidents. They came on to the streets, holding banners and chanting slogans calling on the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign. (Mohamed Azakir / REUTERS)

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An anti-government protester sets fire to plastic barriers and trash to block a road during a demonstration in Beirut. Across the country, the protestors chanted for top leaders, including President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to step down. The mood was a mixture of rage, defiance and hope. (Hassan Ammar / AP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

An anti-government protester sets fire to plastic barriers and trash to block a road during a demonstration in Beirut. Across the country, the protestors chanted for top leaders, including President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to step down. The mood was a mixture of rage, defiance and hope. (Hassan Ammar / AP)

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A security source said one protester was killed and four wounded after the bodyguards of a former member of parliament fired into the air in the northern city of Tripoli. Fires burned in the street of Beirut. Pavements were littered with smashed glass and torn billboards. Demonstrators reached the edge of Aoun’s palace in Baabda. (Hassan Ammar / AP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

A security source said one protester was killed and four wounded after the bodyguards of a former member of parliament fired into the air in the northern city of Tripoli. Fires burned in the street of Beirut. Pavements were littered with smashed glass and torn billboards. Demonstrators reached the edge of Aoun’s palace in Baabda. (Hassan Ammar / AP)

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Members of the Lebanese general security work at site of protest. Addressing protesters from the presidential palace, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law, said the government must work to stop corruption and avoid imposing new taxes. “Any alternative to the current government would be far worse and might lead the country into catastrophe and strife,” said Bassil, dismissing calls for the administration to resign. (Mohamed Azakir / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

Members of the Lebanese general security work at site of protest. Addressing protesters from the presidential palace, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law, said the government must work to stop corruption and avoid imposing new taxes. “Any alternative to the current government would be far worse and might lead the country into catastrophe and strife,” said Bassil, dismissing calls for the administration to resign. (Mohamed Azakir / REUTERS)

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Lebanese demonstrators gather on a highway blocked by a tire fire during a protest in Nahr Ibrahim, north of Beirut. “We came to the streets because we can no longer bear this situation. This regime is totally corrupt,” said Fadi Issa, 51, who was marching with his son. “They are all thieves, they come to the government to fill their pockets, not to serve the country. (Joseph Eid / AFP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

Lebanese demonstrators gather on a highway blocked by a tire fire during a protest in Nahr Ibrahim, north of Beirut. “We came to the streets because we can no longer bear this situation. This regime is totally corrupt,” said Fadi Issa, 51, who was marching with his son. “They are all thieves, they come to the government to fill their pockets, not to serve the country. (Joseph Eid / AFP)

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A woman walks by burning tires that were set fire to block a road during the protest. The demonstrations follow warnings by economists, investors and rating agencies that indebted Lebanon’s economy and graft-entrenched financial system are closer to the brink than at any time since the war-torn 1980s. (Hassan Ammar / AP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

A woman walks by burning tires that were set fire to block a road during the protest. The demonstrations follow warnings by economists, investors and rating agencies that indebted Lebanon’s economy and graft-entrenched financial system are closer to the brink than at any time since the war-torn 1980s. (Hassan Ammar / AP)

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A woman walks by burning tires that were set fire to block a road during the protest. The demonstrations follow warnings by economists, investors and rating agencies that indebted Lebanon’s economy and graft-entrenched financial system are closer to the brink than at any time since the war-torn 1980s. (Ibrahim Amro / AFP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

A woman walks by burning tires that were set fire to block a road during the protest. The demonstrations follow warnings by economists, investors and rating agencies that indebted Lebanon’s economy and graft-entrenched financial system are closer to the brink than at any time since the war-torn 1980s. (Ibrahim Amro / AFP)

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A masked woman walks with a Lebanese national flag tucked into her pocket past a broken window along a street in the centre of the capital Beirut amidst ongoing protests. Shattered by war between 1975 and 1990, Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt burdens as a share of its economy. Economic growth has been hit by regional conflict and unemployment among the under-35s runs at 37%. (AFP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

A masked woman walks with a Lebanese national flag tucked into her pocket past a broken window along a street in the centre of the capital Beirut amidst ongoing protests. Shattered by war between 1975 and 1990, Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt burdens as a share of its economy. Economic growth has been hit by regional conflict and unemployment among the under-35s runs at 37%. (AFP)

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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during an address to the nation, in Beirut. The steps needed to fix the national finances have long proven elusive. Sectarian politicians, many of them civil war militia leaders, have long used state resources for their own political benefit and are reluctant to cede prerogatives. The crisis has been compounded by a slowdown in capital flows to Lebanon, which has depended on remittances from its diaspora to meet financing needs. (Hassan Ammar / AP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2019 04:55 PM IST

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during an address to the nation, in Beirut. The steps needed to fix the national finances have long proven elusive. Sectarian politicians, many of them civil war militia leaders, have long used state resources for their own political benefit and are reluctant to cede prerogatives. The crisis has been compounded by a slowdown in capital flows to Lebanon, which has depended on remittances from its diaspora to meet financing needs. (Hassan Ammar / AP)

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