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Retired Servicemen to 'Besiege' Beirut in Protest at Budget Articles

Jun 27

Retired Servicemen to 'Besiege' Beirut in Protest at Budget Articles

Retired servicemen have decided to escalate their protests against the benefit cuts proposed in the 2019 draft state budget, vowing to block all roads leading to and from the capital on Thursday morning.

In a statement, the servicemen said that they would cut off “all main roads” linking Beirut to the various regions from 5am till 10am Thursday.

“This step is only a warning, because the next steps will be more severe and painful,” they warned.

The retirees identified the points that will be blocked as the Chekka tunnel, the Dahr al-Baydar highway and the Khalde highway.

According to the statement, the second stage of protests might include “besieging and isolating the parliament building and gradually isolating Lebanon from the outside world when the legislature convenes to discuss the draft state budget,” which is currently being debated by the finance parliamentary committee.

The retirees are protesting against three articles in the new state budget

According to al-Akhbar newspaper, the first is related to taxing separate benefits that “should have been part of the main salary since the 1990s.”

“An agreement had been reached on paying them separately so that they don’t be counted as part of the main salary when calculating retirement compensations,” the daily said.

The second is related to suspending pre-legal age retirement for the next three years while the third would raise health care fees from 6 to 9%, equaling retired servicemen with public sector pensioners.