Lebanon's Hariri resigns as crisis turns violent
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on Tuesday amid protests that called for his government to resign.
Violence also hit Lebanon's streets as mobs loyal to Hezbollah tore down tents and fought with demonstrators.
Lucy Fielder reports.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday (October 29) he'd resign, amid unprecedented street protests calling for his government to go.
(SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER, SAAD AL HARIRI, SAYING: "I have tried, during this period, to find a way out, to listen to the people's voice and to protect the country from economic, security and social risks.
Today, I will not hide it from you, I have reached a dead end." Hours before Hariri's announcement, the crisis turned violent.
Mobs loyal to Hezbollah and its ally Amal attacked and destroyed a protest camp in central Beirut -- tearing down tents and burning them, and forcing people from a roadblock.
Police had to intervene.
This man says the demos have forced him and his kids to sit at home for ten days without work or school -- and the family's money is running out.
By quitting, Hariri will defy the powerful Shi'ite Hezbollah group, which is a coalition partner.
Its leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned the step could create a dangerous void.
The billionaire premier tried to defuse popular anger last week with a set of economic reforms and steps to tackle corruption.
But with no signs of immediate action, they weren't enough for those on the streets.
Lebanon's ruling clique has monopolised power for decades.
Some street vendors have set up shop -- selling local food, coffee, and even t-shirts printed with the protesters' slogans.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) KAAK STREET VENDOR, MOHAMED ISSAM MUSTAFA, SAYING: "I came here, first of all, for the protesters, to protest with the people.
Secondly, I cannot find a job, so I came here to try to find something to do in this situation.
My circumstances do not allow me to work in anything else, and there are no jobs." The protests have paralyzed Lebanon's already struggling economy -- with banks, schools and businesses closed for ten days.
Causing financial strain unseen since a civil war that ended in 1990.
Lebanon's Central Bank governor has called for a quick solution to avoid meltdown.
Jubilation at Hariri's announcement in the northern town of Tripoli.
According to the constitution, the cabinet stays on as caretaker until a new one is formed.