Beirut- Lebanese troops moved in to open major roads in Beirut and other cities Wednesday, scuffling in some places with anti-government protesters who had blocked the streets for the past week, grinding the country to a halt.
The army vowed to protect the protesters, but said roads have to be opened so that people can get on with business.
The scuffles came as the anti-government rallies received major support from the country’s Christian leaders who described the weeklong protests as “a historic and exceptional popular uprising” against corruption and mismanagement, and appealed to the government to meet the demands of the people.
Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded public squares across the country in the largest protests in over 15 years - a rare show of unity among Lebanon’s often-divided public in their revolt against status-quo leaders who have ruled for three decades and brought the economy to the brink of disaster.
Meanwhile, a prosecuting judge issued an order against former prime minister, Najib Mikati, as well as his son and brother and also the Audi Bank, Lebanon’s largest, for illegally getting housing loans subsidised by the central bank. Mikati and his other brother, Taha, are among the richest businessmen in Lebanon and made their fortune in telecommunications. According to Forbes, they are worth $2.5 billion each.