Lebanese security forces Wednesday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters, mainly retired soldiers, who tried to break through the fence leading to the government headquarters in downtown Beirut.
The violence came amid widespread anger over the harsh economic conditions in the country, where mismanagement by the ruling class has been rampant for years, preceding the economic meltdown that started in late 2019.
The retired soldiers and policemen demanding better pay clashed with riot police and troops. Several people suffered breathing problems from the tear gas. The protesters hurled stones at the officers protecting the government headquarters and repeatedly tried to break through the fence.
There was no immediate information about any injuries during the violence. The protest was called for by retired soldiers and depositors who have had limited access to their savings after local banks imposed informal capital controls amid the crisis.
The controls restrict cash withdrawals from accounts to avoid folding amid currency shortages. People with dollar accounts can only withdraw small sums in Lebanese pounds, at an exchange rate far lower than that of the black market.