Government building torched in Lebanon protests

Local government employees were on Friday (January 29) inspecting the damage caused by the blaze which was started during continuing protests against a strict lockdown and worsening economic conditions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday was the fourth consecutive night of unrest in one of Lebanon's poorest cities, after the government imposed a 24-hour curfew to curb a COVID-19 surge that has killed more than 2,500 people across the country.

A funeral earlier in the day for a man who was shot dead on Wednesday night (January 27) had fuelled the further protests. Security forces said they had fired live rounds to disperse rioters trying to storm the government building.

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister on Friday condemned the overnight violence in the city of Tripoli.

The lockdown, in effect since Jan. 11, is piling extra hardship on the poor, now more than half the population, with little government aid. Lebanon has been in the throes of its worst financial crisis since 2019 and anger has erupted into protests over the economy, state corruption and political mismanagement.