Riot police stand guard as anti-government protesters try to remove a barbed-wire barrier to advance towards the government buildings during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Kuwait City: Around 300 Kuwaitis have returned home from Lebanon due to mass anti-government protests there, Kuwaiti media reported on Sunday.

The returnees flew back home in response to calls from the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry that advised Kuwaiti citizens to leave Lebanon immediately because of the unrest, Al Qabas newspaper said.

The Kuwaiti embassy evacuated its citizens who had assembled at its premises in Beirut and transported to the Beirut International Airport escorted by the Lebanese army.

Some of the returnees described the situation in Lebanon as alarming.

“Since Thursday, we have not left the hotels for fear of our safety as a result of chaos in the streets,” the paper quoted a returning Kuwaiti as saying.

Lebanon has been rocked since Thursday by demonstrations against the government’s economic policies.

In some parts of the country, angry protesters blocked roads and torched tyres. Some stores were also looted.

“All shops have been closed as a result of chaos in the streets where tyres are burnt and stores are smashed,” said Dalal Ahmad after her arrival at the Kuwait International Airport.

“The situation is terrible,” she added.

Several countries have warned their nationals against travelling to Lebanon and advised those who are already there to leave.

Saudi Arabia evacuates its citizens

Saudi Arabia began on Saturday evacuating its citizens as well.

The Saudi embassy in Beirut said in a statement that the evacuation operation started at dawn by transporting the Saudi citizens to the Beirut International Airport to fly back home.

“The first phase of the crisis and emergency plan is successful,” the embassy added without giving further details.

The mission expressed appreciation to the Lebanese army and security forces for cooperation.

The embassy has already allocated a coastal hotels in Beirut as an assembling point ahead of their evacuation.