Massive anti-government protests took over the capital city of Lebanon, Beirut, on Sunday June 7. Security forces violently suppressed the protesters and caused a large number of injuries.
According to the Lebanese Red Cross, 48 protesters suffered injuries during Sunday’s protests and 11 were hospitalized. The security forces reportedly fired tear gas canisters at the protesters. In response, protesters threw stones at the security forces and set garbage bins in the area on fire, blocking the roads.
Clashes also reportedly took place between supporters and opponents of Hezbollah.
Lebanon has been engulfed in its worst economic crisis since the end of the civil war. The unemployment rate currently stands at 35% and poverty is reportedly as high as 45%. Lebanon is also reeling under a massive international financial debt crisis, with its public debt currently pegged at 170% of its GDP. The country’s currency, the Lebanese pound, has also lost a large percentage of its value. The official government rate currently is around 1,507 pounds against the US dollar. On the black market, the rates are as high as 4,000 pounds to the dollar. The Lebanese government is desperately trying to obtain a multibillion dollar aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost the economy. However, these are conditioned on austerity measures, including huge budget cuts.