Lebanese lawmakers in facemasks and latext gloves were greeted with thermometers and disinfectant spray as they arrived at Beirut’s UNESCO Palace building on Tuesday for the first meeting of parliament since a coronavirus lockdown was imposed. The seating in the building’s spacious theater will allow for proper social distancing during three days of staggered sessions. The bills on the agenda include legislation aimed at rooting out corruption and mismanagement in the public sector, which led to mass protests that paralyzed the country starting in October. The protests faded with the outbreak of the pandemic, which has led to close to 700 confirmed infections in the country and at least 21 deaths. While the legislators were meeting at the theater, hundreds of protesters snarled the city’s streets in cars, their horns blasting with discontent not only over the mismanagement and corruption, but over the sectarian political system they say is at the root of the problem.
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