Lebanon is like a sinking ship – Parliament Speaker

epa08004308 A picture taken with a drone shows an aerial view of Lebanese protesters next to a fist-shaped banner reading 'Revolution' during a protest called The Peaceful Challenge, in Martyr Square, downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 17 November 2019. Protests continue in Lebanon since first erupted on 17 October, as protesters aim to apply pressure on the country's political leaders over what they view as a lack of progress following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on 29 October. EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH

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Lebanon is like a sinking ship that will go under unless action is taken, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was quoted as saying on Monday, referring to the country’s deep economic and political crisis.

Reuters reports that Berri, an ally of the powerful Shi’ite group Hezbollah, told visitors that efforts to form a new government were “completely frozen” and awaiting developments at any moment, the newspaper al-Joumhuria reported.

Al Jazeera reports that the statement on Monday coincided with protests across Lebanon entering their second month after people first took to the streets on October 17 in what quickly became a nationwide protest movement against a ruling class seen as corrupt and incapable of running the country.

“The country is like a ship that is sinking little by little,” he said, according to Al Joumhouria newspaper. “If we don’t take the necessary steps, it will sink entirely.”

Struggling with a massive public debt and economic stagnation, Lebanon has sunk into major political trouble since protests erupted against its ruling elite a month ago, leading Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to quit on Oct. 29.

On Sunday, banks, which have mostly been closed since the protests began, announced temporary measures including a weekly cap of $1,000 on cash withdrawals and restricting transfers abroad to cover urgent personal spending only.

Via Al Jazeera / Reuters 

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