Anti-government protesters hurl stones at soldiers during clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Tuesday, April 28.
Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Violent protests erupt in Lebanon as pandemic makes financial crisis worse

Updated 9:58 AM ET, Fri May 1, 2020

Anti-government protesters hurl stones at soldiers during clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Tuesday, April 28.
Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Lebanon is in turmoil.

The country's long-running financial crisis, which led to the resignation of its prime minister in October, has only gotten worse because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the World Bank projected that 45% of people in Lebanon would be below the poverty line in 2020. Now the government believes that up to 75% of people are in need of aid, Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Musharrafieh told CNN.

Anti-government protesters returned to the street with a vengeance this week after nearly two months on lockdown. In Tripoli, the country's second-largest city and its poorest, protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at banks and clashed with security forces.

Since the uprising began last year, the Lebanese lira has been in a free fall, losing about half of its value. Food prices are soaring.

"Protesters in Tripoli have lost everything. They don't have work, food, water, electricity," said photographer Diego Ibarra Sánchez, who has been documenting the protests. "Everybody is descending into chaos."