Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday announced his resignation from the post as the country has been staging protests for 13 days against the Lebanese government. "I can't hide this from you. I have reached a dead-end. To all my political peers, our responsibility today is how to protect Lebanon and to uplift the economy. Today, there is a serious opportunity and we should not waste it," Saad Hariri was quoted saying in his speech.
As Saad Hariri announced his resignation, scores of demonstrators in Beirut celebrated with joy and waved the Lebanese flag. However, chaos reigned in downtown Beirut when a mob stormed into the main protest site in the city, setting fire in the area and tearing up tents. Military personnel was deployed in various parts of the city to tackle the protestors.
Thousands in Lebanon formed a human chain on Monday, against political leaders blamed for corruption and steering the country towards economic collapse. According to reports, the protests have been lingering for 11 days and until now there has been no sign of moves by the government towards a compromise with protesters whose demands include its resignation. The millers' association in Lebanon reportedly said that the wheat stocks could last just for 20 days due to problems in making foreign currency payments over the past two months due to financial strains.
Lebanese banks that have remained closed for eight working days will remain shut on Monday as the bankers fear the customers will try to take out their savings when they reopen amidst the crisis. The protesters are furious at a sectarian ruling elite, who they accuse of plundering state resources for personal gains. The demonstrations were initially sparked by a government plan to tax WhatsApp calls and now have swept Lebanon at a time of deep economic crisis. The army has failed to persuade the protesters to get off the roads.
Schools and many businesses have also shut their doors. In recent months, the Middle East nation has been embroiled in a severe economic crisis, coupled with rising prices and ballooning debt. Banks and educational institutes have been shut for the last 12 days as protestors blocked major routes throughout Lebanon.
(With agency inputs)