Lebanese Cabinet faces multiple challenges, growing unrest

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s new government made up of appointees nominated by the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies got down to business a day after it was formed. Questions arose immediately about its ability to halt spiralling violence and economic and financial collapse.

As the government headed by Hassan Diab held its first meeting, protesters briefly closed major roads in and around the capital Beirut, denouncing it as a rubber stamp Cabinet for the same political parties they blame for widespread

corruption. Later, a few hundred protesters engaged in some of the most violent confrontations yet with security forces in the capital.

Groups of young men rampaged through streets near Parliament and the Beirut Souks shopping mall in the capital’s commercial district. They smashed windows at luxury shops and restaurants in the shopping area and ripped tiles off buildings and broke them up to use as projectiles to throw at police. The area was the scene of fierce battles between warring factions during the country’s 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990.

Anti-government protesters are sprayed by a water cannon as they clash with the riot police during ongoing protests in Beirut, Lebanon. PHOTO: AP