The security forces of Lebanon are still facing challenges to reopen some roads as demonstrators still continue their nationwide anti-government protests. The authorities have said that the schools would reopen from October 31, but the parents received messages the previous night announcing the schools will remain closed for security reasons. A local media agency said that the schools would be shut until further notice from the authorities.
The mass protests began on October 17 which resulted in the shuttering of banks, schools, and many business establishments. The protests were sparked due to the proposed tax on the WhatsApp messenger service but rapidly escalated with people urging the resignation of the government and a change in the political ideology. Banks are set to reopen from Friday amid concerns of the severe financial crisis that preceded the protests that could worsen. President Michel Aoun, who is one of the primary targets of protestors' anger was scheduled to deliver a speech on that day. Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned Tuesday, which resulted in a big victory for the demonstrators but diving the country into greater uncertainties. It typically takes time to form a new government.
A university professor, Wahid Rihani, said that protestors want a government of technocrats and early parliamentary elections. He said are back to the streets demanding the formation of a new government within 48 hours. The protestors have been sitting or lying on the roads which forced the security forces to drag them away by their legs and arms. In many places, the security forces have removed the concrete blocks, burning tires, and physical road encroachments. Clashes between police and the protestors were reported but there were no reports of serious injuries or casualties.
Hundreds of supporters backing the militant Hezbollah group and the allied Shiite Amal party rampaged through the main protest camp, vandalizing chairs and setting fire to tents. Security forces dispersed them with tear gas but the protestors returned after some hours, repairing the tents and resuming their sit-ins. The Lebanon government is dominated by the allies of Iran backed Hezbollah which has accused the foreign powers of exploiting the protests to undermine it. The protestors have urged for the resignation of the political class that has dominated the country since its 1975-1990 civil war. Thirty years after the end of the war, Lebanon still faces frequent power cuts, unreliable water supply, and the trash often goes uncollected. The country is currently $86 billion in debt, accounting for 150% of its GDP.