Beirut: Lebanese protesters rallying against a proposed austerity budget have broken through a security cordon outside parliament, where lawmakers were voting on the controversial draft bill.

The protesters, mostly army veterans, on Friday pushed against barricades, walking over them and making their way closer to the heavily guarded parliament. The protesters have gathered every day since Tuesday as lawmakers met for final discussion on the budget ahead of a vote.

The budget is aimed at averting a financial crisis in heavily indebted Lebanon. But it was met with criticism for failing to address structural problems. Instead, the budget mostly cuts public spending and raises taxes.

Despite the criticism, lawmakers began voting on each article of the bill in a closed session. Scuffles broke out before amid tight security.