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Mon 24 Dec 2018 09:28 AM

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Protests rock Lebanon as anger mounts over economy, political deadlock

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated against widespread corruption and lackluster public services

Protests rock Lebanon as anger mounts over economy, political deadlock
Lebanese soldiers stand guard the street as antigovernment protesters inspired by the French movement Yellow Vests Gilets jaunes demonstrate in Martyrs square in central Beirut on December 23 2018 Hundreds of Lebanese protested against deteriorating economic conditions as politicians are deadlocked over forming a new government Photo by ANWAR AMRO AA AFP Photo credit should read ANWAR AMROAFPGetty Images

Hundreds of Lebanese took to the streets Sunday in Beirut to protest rampant corruption and poor living conditions, as anger mounts over political deadlock that has left the country without a government since May.

People marched to the prime minister's office in central Beirut to demonstrate against Lebanon's fractious political class, widespread graft and failing public services. 

Some protesters sported the iconic yellow vests worn by anti-government protesters in France, adorned with a cedar tree -- Lebanon's national symbol.

"There is corruption and theft of state funds," 43-year-old Hana told AFP. 

"We are governed by a political class of corrupt thieves who rule with sectarian fanaticism," she said. 

Parliamentary polls in May gave Saad Hariri a new term as prime minister, but seven months on, debate still drags on over ministerial portfolios.

Demonstrators demanded what they called their "most basic rights", including a reintroduction of housing loans stalled for nearly a year and more access to healthcare, water and electricity. 

They were met by security forces who erected a cordon in the city centre. 

Dozens also demonstrated in the northern city of Tripoli and in Nabatiyeh in the south. 

The protests came after hundreds took part in demonstrations led by Lebanon's Communist Party last Sunday. 

Lebanon's economy is on the brink of collapse and France warned this month that the country could soon miss out on a much-needed aid programme agreed in Paris earlier this year if the political deadlock continues. 

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