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2nd Death in Mass Protests in Lebanon

Lebanese soldiers shot dead a local official of a Lebanese political party as the military tried to disperse a crowd and open a road closed by protesters in Khaldeh, a town just south of the capital, Beirut, late Tuesday. This was the second death in 27 days of mass anti-government protests that have rocked the country. The man was identified as an official of the Progressive Socialist Party, the parliamentary faction headed by Lebanon’s Druze political leader Walid Jumblatt. Jumblatt tried to calm an angry crowd that gathered in front of the hospital where the man died. The army said in a statement that it had arrested the soldier who fired on the protester and opened an investigation into the incident. Lebanon has been paralyzed by nationwide demonstrations protesting against widespread unemployment, government corruption and incompetence, sectarianism, and foreign influence. There is widespread discontent over the perception of foot-dragging in the formation of a new government after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government in late October. Addressing this perception in a TV interview on Tuesday, President Michel Aoun said there could be more delays – a message that fueled further protests Tuesday night and Wednesday.