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Lebanon minister of economy Mansour Btaish
Lebanon minister of economy Mansour Btaish

According to media reports the government instructed the supermarkets to jack up the prices by 40 % .

But sources close  to economy minister Mansour Btaish   denied the reports.

Btaish represents the Free Patriotic Movement whose founder is president Michel Aoun and currently being run by his son-in- law minster Gebran Bassil

“No official order has been given in this regard” the sources were quoted as saying , stressing that the closure of the roads has prevented the government inspectors to check the prices of supermarkets.

But the supermarkets  syndicate admitted that the prices have gone up blaming the    dollar exchange rate for the rise .

But the prices have reportedly gone up even for locally produced   products which were paid for in Lebanese  currency

The Lebanese currency is pegged to the dollar at 1407.5 LL to the dollar but money changers have reportedly been selling the dollar at much higher rate  despite the fact the Lebanon Central bank chief told Reuters today that there is no change in the official exchange rate

Many of the protesters claimed today that the government is trying to starve them to force them to end the protests  .

Lebanon’s banking association said banks would remain closed on Monday, the first day of the working week. Schools and many businesses have shut their doors and banks have already been shut for nine working days.

The nationwide protests are targeting a political class accused of abusing power to exploit state resources for their own benefit. Financial strains are surfacing, including a scarcity of dollars and pressure on the pegged Lebanese pound.

The size and geographic reach of the protests have been extraordinary in a country where political movements have long been divided along sectarian lines and struggle to draw nationwide appeal.

“We’re here to show the whole world that we are united,” said Rasha Hijazi, joining hands with others in the southern city of Sidon. “Everyone is coming to stay united against the corruption we are living with in this country.”

 

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