Thousands rally in Lebanon’s capital Beirut against proposed tax hikes

Thousands have rallied in Lebanon’s capital against proposed tax hikes that the government has said are needed to avoid a 4 billion dollars budget deficit this year.

Protesters chanted “we will not pay” and blamed corrupt politicians as they gathered in central Beirut’s Riad el-Solh square.

Addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri who vowed to fight corruption urged the organizers of the protests to form a committee and “raise their demands and discuss them positively.”

Authorities are reportedly seeking to raise taxes to help pay for a deal on public sector pay increases, which is part of a wider effort led by Hariri to approve the country’s first state budget in 12 years.

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