Lebanon’s parliament, besieged by protesters, said Tuesday it had indefinitely postponed a session that had been due to discuss controversial draft laws.
“The session has been postponed to a date to be determined later,” said parliament official Adnane Daher, reading a statement in front of television cameras, citing “exceptional conditions, in particular security conditions.”
Lebanese protesters began gathering on Tuesday morning around the parliament in Beirut, where the legislative session was scheduled, to block lawmakers from reaching the building amid tight security measures, according to the Lebanese National News Agency.
Banks were set to reopen for the first time in a week after announcing temporary steps, such as a weekly cap of $1,000 on withdrawals of hard currency and transfers abroad limited to urgent personal expenses, in moves to prevent capital flight.
A month after the start of nationwide protests, Lebanon is in serious political and economic crisis with no indication of its leaders agreeing on a new government to replace the outgoing cabinet of Saad al-Hariri, who quit as premier on October 29.
Near parliament, riot police scuffled with a group of protesters who were trying to use a cable to remove a barbed wire barricade blocking a road, a Reuters witness said.
The protests have been fueled by perceptions of corruption among the sectarian politicians who have governed Lebanon for decades and are blamed for leading the country into its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.