What Happened: Thousands of people demanding the government's resignation and a sweeping overhaul of Lebanon's political system took to the streets of Beirut, Tripoli and other cities on Oct. 19 for the third day of nationwide protests, Al Jazeera and other news sources reported. Late in the day, AP reported that Samir Geagea, who heads the right-wing Lebanese Forces party, had asked his four ministers in the Cabinet to resign, saying he no longer believes the national unity government headed by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri can steer the country out of a deepening economic crisis.
Why It Matters: The Cabinet ministers' resignations are another test for the al-Hariri government that has been shaken by the protests that have brought Lebanon to a standstill and undermined its political stability. Al-Hariri has given his deeply divided coalition until the evening of Oct. 21 to find ways to deal with the crisis, blaming them for refusing his proposed reform package.
Background: The protests are building on long-simmering anger in Lebanon at a ruling class that has divided power and amassed wealth but done little to fix the economy or repair the country's infrastructure.
- In Lebanon, All Roads Lead to Austerity (Oct. 7, 2019)
- Lebanon's Profligate Factions Gamble on a Foreign Rescue (June 5, 2019)
- Increasing U.S. Sanctions Pressure Raises the Risks of Iranian Retaliation (May 16, 2019)