Lebanese goverment reverses plan to introduce WhatsApp tax after protests

epa07931607 Protesters run through the smoke from tear gas after clashes with Lebanese policemen who guard the Government palace where Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri gives a press statement, during a protest at downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 18 October 2019. Protesters, mainly civil activists, started to demonstrate in downtown Beirut on 17 October, condemning the proposed taxes that would go along with the 2020 budget, especially an unexpected government plan to impose a fee of 0.20 cents a day for using WhatsApp calls. EPA-EFE/NABIL MOUNZER

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After word got around in Lebanon that the government was planning to tax WhatsApp calls, thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Beirut. 

The plan was to impose a 20-cent fee for a person’s first call of the day. 

On Friday, the Lebanese government reversed course and said no new taxes would be levied. 

Fortune reports, the Lebanese government is deeply in debt, and passed austerity measures in July to help remedy the situation. That began affecting the lives of Lebanon’s citizens by, for example, threatening the pensions of retired soldiers. Additionally, some reportedly believe corruption is preventing the country from getting the aid it needs.

The proposed WhatsApp tax, as well as proposals to increase VAT and gasoline taxes, inflamed anti-government sentiments. That led to the demonstrations, in which protesters called for regime change and revolution.

Via Mashable / Fortune

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