Security forces in Beirut’s capital fired water cannon and tear gas at angry protesters outside parliament Wednesday, where a new government was being formed.
The demonstrators rallied near the parliament building in the early hours to protest the new government. They hurled stones, firecrackers and sticks at police and tried to remove the newly erected barricades placed outside parliament, where Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government had been installed just hours earlier.
Diab’s new government, which is scheduled to meet for the first time on Wednesday, ended an impasse triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri last October.
Protesters have been calling for sweeping reforms and a government made up of independent technocrats that could deal with Lebanon’s crippling economic and financial crisis, the worst the country has faced in decades.
A liquidity crunch has led banks to restrict access to cash and the Lebanese pound to slump. Jobs have been lost and inflation has soared.