Hundreds of military retirees protest for higher pensions in Lebanon
Beirut, Mar 30 (EFE).- Hundreds of retired army personnel took to the streets on Thursday in the Lebanese capital Beirut to demand an increase in their monthly retirement income, as the local currency plummets amid a deepening economic crisis in the Mediterranean country.
“I used to get $2,000 every month. Now it is $50,” Fady, a retired soldier, told Efe.
“After 20 years in the army, (they give me) 50 dollars, it’s not right.” the 44-year-old father of four said.
Their pensions have fallen along with the value of the Lebanese pound, which last week hit a new low of 140,000 to the US dollar for the first time in the country’s history. It used to trade at 1,500 to 1 US dollar before the outbreak of the crisis in 2019.
Surrounded by army troops and military vehicles, protesters raised the Lebanese flag and some burned tires outside the Lebanese central bank and the government palace in Beirut.
When asked about their demands, another retired soldier explained to Efe that he only wants to “eat.”
An angry protester outside the central bank said: “We want what they have taken from us.”
Some 80% of the Lebanese population live in poverty and, amid rampant inflation, depositors are only allowed to withdraw limited amounts from banks at an exchange rate well below what is in the black market. EFE