In pictures: Fury ignites over Lebanon's economy
A flare was set off in the middle of a protest in Riad al-Solh Square in downtown Beirut on Thursday.
Thousands of demonstrators had taken to the streets across Lebanon to express their outrage over the country's gloomy economic conditions.
Before midnight, the protests in Beirut were largely peaceful. But as time passed, clashes started to erupt when security forces blocked access to the streets around key government buildings. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
A young woman led an anti-government chant.
All sections of Lebanese society were represented in the protests. One chant rejected sectarian narratives embedded in the Lebanese political system, proclaiming: “Muslim or Christian, we are all Lebanese.”
A fresh wave of protests erupted this week following a government announcement that new taxes would be imposed on voice calls on applications such as WhatsApp.
While the government has since backtracked on the proposal, anger remains over the dire state of the Lebanese economy. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
Protesters removed railings used by security forces to block out the crowd in Riad al-Solh Square.
Security forces said that 60 of its officers were injured during clashes with protesters in Beirut. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
A young protester posed in front of a fire as the crowd looked on.
While most of the protesters expressed their anger through chants, a small group consisted of mostly young men turned to vandalism by starting fires and destroying properties. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
Protesters commandeered heavy duty railings, using them to shut off roads around Martyrs’ Square.
At this stage, the protests started to appear more organised, moving steadily from junction to junction. Some protesters began to light fires on the pavement using old tyres, petrol and hoardings. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
A protester turned up his trousers after playing in a puddle of water from a fire engine.
Some protesters wanted to refuse a fire engine access to Martyrs’ Square and even opened its water taps. Other argued – successfully, after a while – that the firemen should be allowed to pass.
Lebanon has been enduring environmental crises, dismal economic growth, rising unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and growing pressure on the country's currency and banking system.
The government has proposed austerity measures and tax hikes to balance the country's budget, fuelling the rage of citizens who already accuse politicians of corruption and mismanagement. (MEE/Finbar Anderson)
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