Army Veterans Block Finance Ministry Building for Second Day

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Army Veterans Block Finance Ministry Building for Second Day

Retired military officers on Thursday staged a sit-in in front of the Finance Ministry’s revenues department for the second day in a row, also 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.

Retired general George Nader told Voice of Lebanon radio station that the sit-in is aimed at conveying a message to the government that it must collect revenues by clamping down on sources of corruption and squandering, not by cutting the salaries and benefits of public servants and servicemen.

The sit-in will go on until Friday afternoon, Nader pointed out. 

In a news conference outside the building on Wednesday, 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.