Retired Military Officers Block Central Bank to Protest Cuts Plan

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Retired military officers on Monday blocked the entrances of the Central Bank after they had vowed escalation to demand that the government retracts all items related to cutting their pensions and end-of-service benefits from its 2019 draft austerity budget.

Around 100 protesters set up tents outside the Central Bank on Sunday night as the government convened to resume discussions on the draft budget.

General Sami Ramah, a spokesman for the veterans, had said they would stay at the bank, stopping employees from entering, until their demand of no cuts to the military budget was met.

Lebanon's central bank is operating despite blocks at its entrances, as workers had managed to get in the bank last night and would work as normal, a central bank official told Reuters on Monday.

Other sit-ins also took place in Beirut, Baalbeck, Jounieh, Tripoli and Tyre, as reported by the National News Agency.

The Dahr Al-Baydar road, linking Beirut to the Bekaa, was also cut off by the protesters.

The National Veterans Organization had issued a statement on Sunday saying that the retired officers will start their protest action as of 6 AM today, warning that they will cut off roads and block public facilities nationwide.

“This is to warn the government against altering the pensions and social benefits provided by the law,” the statement said.

"This big protest movement will be the start of a series of actions that will paralize work across the country."