Lebanese protesters hurled rocks and metal barricades at security forces blocking a road near parliament on Monday ahead of a budget debate as Lebanon grapples with a deep financial crisis.
Thousands of soldiers, including special forces, as well as riot policemen were deployed on major roads in the capital and its suburbs. They sealed off the zone leading to parliament to prevent protesters from blocking the lawmakers' path. Protesters blocked roads further afield to prevent lawmakers from reaching the building.
During the two-day session, parliament is scheduled to discuss the 2020 budget that was drafted by the government of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned in late October in response to the nationwide protests. The tight security measures underscored determination to hold the two budget sessions despite the protests. In November, thousands of protesters closed roads leading to parliament, forcing a postponement of a legislative session after most lawmakers weren't able to reach the legislature.
Some protesters have rejected a new cabinet formed last week and accuse the political elite of ignoring demands that include an independent government and fighting corruption. The protesters have been demonstrating for more than three months against the ruling elite that has run the country since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. The protesters have rejected the new 20-member government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, which was announced last week.
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