Lebanon: Thousands protest tax hikes and austerity measures in Beirut

Thousands of people flooded the streets of Beirut on Thursday as part of nation-wide demonstrations against poor economic conditions and government plans to introduce new taxes. Protesters can be seen gathering outside the Grand Serail Government Palace, with some waving Lebanese flags. «We are dead from hunger, no work, no electricity, no water, and even the air is polluted and carcinogenic... Еще. Our children are sick,» one protester said. Another protester said «we are four million people, if we all go out in protest we can make a difference.» According to reports, the heavily-indebted Lebanese government unveiled several new measures to raise revenue in an attempt to balance their large budget deficit, including a tax of 20 cents per day for calls made through voice over internet protocol (VoIP), a service used by WhatsApp and Facebook calls. As the protests gained steam throughout the country, the proposed tax on WhatsApp calls was dropped, reports say.

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