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Lebanese Protesters Blockading Parliament Amid Tight Security Policy

Lebanese protesters gathered on Tuesday morning in the vicinity of the country’s parliament and are preventing lawmakers from attending the legislative session against the backdrop of the tightening of security measures following nationwide mass anti-government protests, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

Last week, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that the United Nations called on all Lebanese authorities to make sure that the rights to assembly and peaceful protest were fully observed after a protester was shot in the head on 12 November in Khalde, south of the Lebanese capital of Beirut, becoming the first victim of the unrest. The shooter was detained.

The rallies began across Lebanon on 17 October as a result of the authorities’ plan to introduce a tax on online calls made via WhatsApp messenger. The measure was subsequently scrapped, but the protests continued amid an acute economic crisis and low living standards, which President Michel Aoun said were a result of an economic blockade against Lebanon. In the first two days of the unrest, the center of Beirut was swept by riots that led to clashes between protesters and the police. The authorities were forced to call on the military and security services to avoid the use of heavy violence and ensure the safety of peaceful demonstrators.