Lebanese protesters block lawmakers from entering parliament building

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-19 17:43:54|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BEIRUT, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Lebanese protesters on Tuesday blocked roads to the parliament building in downtown Beirut, preventing lawmakers from voting on new laws.

Protesters clashed with riot police and attacked a convoy of three cars attempting to reach the building, prompting the convoy to fire warning gunshots into the air to disperse the demonstrators.

Only five lawmakers succeeded in reaching the Parliament so far while 55 others announced that they wouldn't participate in the session, which had been postponed from last week.

The parliament was originally expected to discuss draft laws on fighting corruption, establishing a court for financial crimes, creating an elderly pension system, and granting a general amnesty.

The debate surrounding a general amnesty law heated up lately as prisoners, including individuals sentenced on a variety of offenses including terrorism-related crimes, have been rallying all over Lebanon demanding that the detainees be pardoned.

The presence of an amnesty law in Parliament also raises the issue of who exactly will be included, especially whether it will include the politicians accused of corruption.

The Lebanese protests started over a month ago against successive governments' policies which led to financial and economic deterioration in the country and the impoverishment of the Lebanese people.

Protesters have succeeded in toppling the government led by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri so far, but they aim for the mass resignation of the president and lawmakers, whom they accused of being accountable for corruption.

The protesters have also called for forming a small government capable of undertaking serious economic reforms to save the country from further deterioration.