Army Veterans Launch New Round of Anti-Budget Protests

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Army Veterans Launch New Round of Anti-Budget Protests

Retired military officers on Wednesday staged a sit-in in front of the Finance Ministry’s revenues department, preventing employees from entering the building as part of their protests against the 2019 draft austerity budget which includes items that cut their pensions and end-of-service benefits.

In a news conference outside the building, a spokesman for the veterans said that the sit-in serves as a warning to the failed government, warning against tampering with the social benefits granted to retired officers, the wounded and families of slain soldiers.

The veterans called on the judiciary to hold officials who have squandered public funds to account, demanding the government to implement the law on unjust enrichment or resign.

The statement slammed the budget proposed by the government as one of "shame and humiliation", warning that all public facilities, including the Beirut airport, will be legitimate targets of their upcoming protest actions should the Cabinet fail to meet their demands. 

“Tomorrow will witness a greater escalation, especially following the outcome of the Finance and Budget parliamentary committee's vote,” Retired General, Georges Nader, told Voice of Lebanon radio station,
assuring that citizens will be notified beforehand should veterans decide to block roads.

Veterans also attempted to block the entrance to the Litani River Authority's building in Downtown Beirut, but security forces prevented them from doing so.