Lebanese PM announces resignation amid ongoing protests

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday announced his resignation amid ongoing protests.

Speaking in a news conference, Hariri said “I have tried all this time to find a way to listen to the voice of the people and to protect the country from security and living risks.”

He went on to say: “I do not hide that I reached a dead end to resolve the crisis.”

Hariri said he was convinced of the need to create a “positive shock and the formation of a government capable of facing challenges.”

Hariri submitted his resignation to President Michel Aoun as popular demonstrations enter their 13th day.

Meanwhile, protestors in Beirut celebrated the resignation of the prime minister, while pro-Hariri protesters demanded resignation of other top officials including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and President Aoun.

Mass protests erupted across Lebanon last week against plans to tax calls on Whatsapp and other messaging services. The demonstrations quickly turned into wider grievances with calls for resignation of the Lebanese government and bringing corrupt officials to accountability.

Lebanon suffers from high unemployment, little growth and one of the highest debts ratios in the world, with a debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to a statement by the Lebanese Ministry of Finance in May 2019.