More than a month into unprecedented anti-government protests, Lebanon is now also facing petrol station strike where angry demonstrators blocked the main roads on November 29. According to international media reports, the owners of the petrol stations are demanding an increase in gasoline prices due to a dollar liquidity crunch which has led the nation to slide deeper into financial crisis. In Beirut and several other major cities, most stations had reportedly closed their pumps and blocked off their entrances with a barrier.
The demonstrations that started on Thursday came after President Michel Aoun headed a meeting of the country's top economic officials to discuss the deteriorating economic and financial situation in the country. According to repots the Lebanese pound is pegged at around 1,500 pounds to the dollar but banks have been rationing dollar withdrawals which have forced people to resort to money-changers and pushing the unofficial exchange rate above 2,000 pounds to the greenback. Due to this the petrol stations are making losses and are forced to buy dollars at a higher rate to pay importers demanding the foreign currency.
The nationwide protests that began on October 17 are considered to be one of the worst in Lebanon with protesters witnessed to have put forward demands to end corruption and poor management by the government for nearly three decades. These protests led to Prime Minister Saad Hariri led government to step down on October 29 and since then people in the political sphere to agree on a new cabinet despite the declining economic crisis. According to reports, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, and head of its Middle East subcommittee, Ted Deutch stated that Lebanon continued to be plagued by threats from extremist groups ISIS, Al Qaida and its associates alongside an increasing presence of militant group Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party and an extremist group with a base in Lebanon.