Journalism is not a scapegoat: protest follows attack on journalist Mohamad Zbeeb
- Journalist Mohamad Zbeeb was attacked by three assailants Wednesday night in Hamra after his participation in a seminar on Lebanon's economy, organized by the American University of Beirut Secular Club. Zbeeb was ambushed as he made his way back to his car. His attackers beat him up with sticks and hurled insults. He was taken to the American University Medical Center for checkups.
- On Thursday, protesters gathered in front of the Central Bank in Hamra and later marched to the Interior Ministry to voice outrage and show solidarity with Zbeeb. "Our fight is with the ruling class, which should fall," Zbeeb said from the protest.
- Security forces told the Daily Star they were investigating the incident. No arrests were made after the attack and no suspects identified.
Tripoli protests against cabinet, banks, and living conditions
- Protesters gathered in front of MP Faisal Karami's house in Tripoli on Thursday to denounce Hassan Diab's "one-colored government and their worsening living conditions. They then marched to the city's Central Bank branch to demonstrate against banking policies and the rising cost of food in the city.
Aoun, Berri, and Diab postpone decision regarding Eurobond settlement
- The country's top 3 leaders held a financial meeting in Baabda to discuss whether Lebanese authorities can pay the 1.2 billion USD Eurobond settlement, which is due in March. Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, who also attended the meeting, concluded that there were several options. A committee will convene with local and international experts, including the International Monetary Fund, to devise a rescue plan. The deadline for the committee to report back to the cabinet is end of February.
- The meeting was also attended by Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, Head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon Salim Sfeir, Economy Minister Raoul Nehmhe, and Defense Minister Zeina Akar Adra.
Diab's cabinet meets for the first time since receiving confidence
- President Michel Aoun kicked off the first cabinet meeting by congratulating the ministers on the confidence granted by parliament. Aoun and Diab briefed the ministers on the outcomes of the financial meeting held earlier on Thursday, and Aoun asked the cabinet to begin work on the 2021 state budget.
- Diab asked ministers to sign a pledge that they would not run for parliament during their term, and to make a comprehensive list of their incomes and business interests.
- Cabinet took a minute of silence in memory of the soldiers and police officers who passed away during the preceding few days.
Security forces arrests 4 more protesters in Sidon, then release all 10 detainees.
- According to the Lawyers' Committee for the Defense of Protesters, four more protesters were arrested on Thursday in Sidon for taking part in protests on Tuesday. The total number of arrested protesters went up to 10 detainees.
- The four protesters were accused of 'attacking' the convoys of MPs Salim Saadeh and Ayoub Hmeid and were later released after the MPs decided to drop charges. The other six detainees arrested on Wednesday were later released at 5PM."
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