Beirut, Lebanon – Veterans protested outside the Lebanese prime minister’s office in Beirut on Friday against proposed austerity measures which would affect their end-of-services benefits and cut the pension by three percent.
They burned tyres and chanted slogans calling Lebanon‘s leaders “thieves” and claimed they were being made to pay for the failures of “ineffective and corrupt” politicians.
Lebanon has witnessed a spate of protests over the last two weeks as the government discussed austerity measures to reduce state expenditure in the upcoming budget.
Fiscal and economic reforms are a prerequisite for Lebanon to obtain $11bn in loans pledged by international donors in the CEDRE conference last year. To balance the books, one proposal in the draft budget suggested cutting wages and benefits of public sector employees, including army veterans.
The protesters demanded that the government should first target “corrupt businesses and politicians”, instead of bridging the budget gap through the pockets of the salaried classes, who are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living in Lebanon.