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Protesters set banks on fire in Tripoli as Lebanon hit by unrest

A collapse in the Lebanese pound and soaring inflation and unemployment are compounding hardship in Lebanon, which has been in deep financial crisis since October. A shutdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus has exacerbated economic woes.

Protesters in Tripoli set two banks on fire and smashed their facades, prompting the army to deploy and dozens of soldiers to take position in a street lined with several banks, some firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

In Beirut dozens marched across the city, some wearing medical masks while chanting against the financial system and shouting for more Lebanese to join. Later, crowds hurled stones toward security forces positioned in front of the central bank.

The unrest threatens to tip the country back into violence even as Beirut looks to pass an economic rescue plan and enter negotiations with foreign creditors after defaulting on its hefty debt obligations last month.

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