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Protesters decrying the lira’s drop to yet another a new low on the parallel market blocked roads across Lebanon while a number of gas stations closed to demand the dollarization of Energy Ministry-set fuel prices. The Energy Ministry issued two updates to fuel prices yesterday, accompanying the lira’s fall to LL77,000 on the dollar on the parallel market. Gas station owners, however, found the updates insufficient as they face high volatility in the parallel currency market. The price of bread bundles, still subsidized by the state, also increased yesterday. The continued depreciation of the lira sparked protests across the country, with road closures in Beirut, Saida, Mazraat Yeshou, Tripoli and Akkar. The lira’s latest losses, previously linked to loss of confidence in Lebanon’s ability to tackle its compounded crises, coincide with the second week of an open-ended strike by commercial banks.
Dozens of public school teachers protested outside the Education Ministry yesterday to demand improved compensation more than a month after the start of their open-ended strike. The teachers announced an upcoming “escalation” to their protest, the state-run National News Agency reported. Public school teachers launched a strike on Jan. 6 demanding improved compensation, health care coverage and revised contracts. The United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF) on Tuesday warned that Lebanon's public school closures over the past six weeks caused “large and persistent damage to children’s learning, mental and physical well-being and safety.” Caretaker Education Minister Abbas Halabi said the claims of the different teachers' leagues require the approval of the finance ministry.
Sixteen Lebanese citizens have been confirmed dead in Turkey following the Feb. 6 earthquake that killed more than 41,000 people. A Lebanese Civil Defense team dispatched to Turkey to aid with relief efforts found the body of Lebanese man Elias Haddad, Lebanon's ambassador to Turkey Ghassan Moallem told L'Orient Today yesterday. Another Lebanese man is thought to be trapped in the same site, where yet another Lebanese citizen was rescued alive.
A Syrian refugee family filed a complaint in the Bzibina municipality, in Akkar, after an area policeman allegedly physically assaulted their 15-year-old son. The municipality condemned the “inhumane attitude” of the alleged attacker while maintaining accusations that the minor had stolen the policeman’s son’s wallet. The boy’s family denied the theft accusations, while a picture circulated on social media allegedly showing the boy’s heavily scarred back. Violent incidents targeting Syrian refugees in Lebanon have repeatedly been documented.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read article from yesterday: “In loving memory of Linda Matar: The legacy of a Lebanese women’s rights trailblazer”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz