Around 500 people carrying Lebanese flags gathered in central Beirut’s Martyr Square on Sunday to march to the seats of government and parliament.
The protesters blocked several main roads, some setting tires and garbage cans on fire. They chanted “Down with capitalism,” amid heightened security in the area, Presstv Reported.
“We went down to demand to live with dignity. We want to say to the MPs, the ministers, and all the ruling class that if they don’t want to give back what they stole, they should at least stop stealing so the people can live,” one protester said.
Lebanon has one of the largest public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratios in the world. The figure stands at around 150 percent, and much of it has been accumulated through servicing existing debt. The economy has suffered from years of low growth.
On April 6 last year, France hosted an international donor conference in support of Lebanon. International donors pledged an 11-billion-dollar loan package to Lebanon to help the country’s ailing economy at the event. The funds pledged have yet to be released, however.
Lebanon hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and their presence is often blamed for putting pressure on an already struggling economy.
Unemployment stands at more than 20 percent, according to official figures.
Successive governments have failed to address a waste management crisis or improve the electricity grid, which is plagued by daily power cuts.