The protesters were referring to the start of nationwide protests in October 2019 against the country’s ruling class. They are blamed for decades of corruption and mismanagement that threw the small nation into the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.
“Those who usurped public money cannot conduct reforms,” shouted one of the protesters before leaving the building following police intervention. “We have hit rock bottom. Things cannot get worse."
The crisis has been made worse by the coronavirus and the August 2020 explosion in Beirut's port that killed 216 people, injured more than 6,000 and destroyed parts of the capital.
The Cabinet, formed in September after a 13-month vacuum, has not met in more than six weeks amid deep divisions between rival groups over the judge leading the investigation into the port blast. Comments by a government minister that triggered a diplomatic row with oil-rich Gulf Arab nations have added to the acrimony.
In other parts of the country, protesters placed posters that read “the mafia that destroyed the Lebanese pound” outside some branches of local banks, the state-run National News Agency said.
For the past two years, local lenders have imposed informal capital controls that prevent many people from accessing their savings.