November 30, 2020

New blockades in Lebanon amid warnings of economic collapse

The students have blocked several universities and educational centers on Wednesday, and have demonstrated at the headquarters of some companies, in the framework of the protests that erupted on October 17, as concerns about the deterioration of the already very weak economy grow Lebanese

High school and university students performed today sitting in their educational centers, as well as in other institutions such as the Ministry of Education, and forced the cancellation of classes at the American University in Beirut, the most prestigious in the country, and others.

In the southern city of Sidon, protesters took to the streets after a video was released on the internet in which the director of an institute threatened to expel all students participating in the protests.

In this Mediterranean town, the telecommunications company Ogero and the public electricity company were also targeted.

"My parents asked for a loan so I could continue studying, now I don't know if they can afford it and I haven't gotten a job yet. How can I not participate in the protests?" A young man named Bilal told Efe in a sitting in front of the headquarters of the Central Bank of Lebanon in Beirut.

Amid the protests, which are now celebrating their twenty-first day, and the political impasse after Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned a week ago, there are growing fears of a bankruptcy of the Lebanese economy, which is already in an extremely extreme situation. fragile.

The credit agency Moody's downgraded the rating of the Government of Lebanon from "Caa1" to "Caa2" and indicated that the indicators remain under review for another downgrade in the future.

According to a statement, the demonstrations, the resignation of the Government and the loss of confidence of investors "have further undermined Lebanon's traditional financing model, which is based on capital inflows and the growth of bank deposits (.. .) what threatens macroeconomic stability. "

Meanwhile, the director of the World Bank for the Middle East area, Saroj Kumar Jha, visited Lebanon today and met with President Michel Aoun, who last week promised political and economic reforms that have not yet materialized.

"What is coming could be worse if it is not dealt with immediately," said the World Bank representative, who estimates that Lebanon will close the year in recession with a negative growth of 0.2%.

Therefore, he recommended "to take credible urgent measures to restore confidence in the economy" and added that the "new Government must intervene quickly" to prevent the effect of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable classes.

The current wave of protests broke out when the Government announced a new tax to try to increase the income of the State, whose debt represents around 150% of the country's GDP.

In addition, the shortage of currencies in the heavily dollarized economy had affected several sectors in the weeks prior to the outbreak of the popular movement, which claims against corruption and mismanagement of the ruling class.

. (tagsToTranslate) New (t) blocks (t) Lebanon (t) warnings (t) economic

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