After initially announcing that it will introduce taxes on WhatsApp voice calls, Lebanon government quickly decided to give up on such plans after demonstrators held nationwide protests that ended up being rather violent.
Lebanon had seen violent, nationwide protests this Thursday when thousands of people stood up after the country’s government for improper handling of an economic crisis. However, one issue that was the last drop for people of Lebanon was when the government announced that it would tax voice calls made through WhatsApp messaging software.
This was also not the first time in the past month that the people of Lebanon stood up against the government. Protesters blocked the roads across the country, with burning tires and other materials. Eventually, security
forces had to fire tear gas to force back the demonstrators.
As mentioned, the protests were very violent, with dozens of people being hurt, including 60 members of the police.
According to reports, the protests have started due to extremely bad economic conditions. Lebanon is also considered one of the stares which suffered the most from the financial crisis — so much so that the government declared a state of economic emergency. Its people are unemployed and in need of jobs, rights, water, electricity, education, and more.
Meanwhile, the country itself faces quite high debt, while also suffering from reduced capital inflows, crumbling infrastructure, and a lack of growth of any kind. At the same time, the Lebanese pound, which was pegged against USD for around twenty years, saw a lot of pressure as well.
The country’s Prime Minister, Saad al-Hariri, stated that the government is seeking approval of the 2020 budget, which may bring billions given by international donors. However, the donors want to see reforms in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut, which means eliminating corruption and waste.
The decision to bring taxes to WhatsApp voice calls was the last drop for the country’s people, although the protests did not emerge only due to the messaging app. As stated by protestors, they want much more than that — they want fuel, water, food, education, economic stability, jobs, and more. Meanwhile, the government planned even more tax increases. However, following the mass protests, such plans were quickly revoked.
What do you think about the situation in Lebanon? Would you support taxes on WhatsApp voice calls? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on the matter.
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