The Latest: Protesters meet with Lebanese president Aoun

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A woman walks by burning tires that were set fire to block a road during a protest against government’s plans to impose new taxes in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests erupted over the government’s plan to impose new taxes during a severe economic crisis, with people taking their anger out on politicians they accuse of corruption and decades of mismanagement. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations against proposed new taxes amid economic crisis in Lebanon (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

President Michel Aoun has received a delegation representing protesters and told them that he will do all he can to “ease your suffering.”

Aoun’s office posted a photo of the meeting that consisted eight persons sitting with Aoun at the presidential palace in Beirut’s southeastern suburb of Baabda.

A member of the delegation told reporters later Friday the delegation told Aoun the government must resign and be replaced by an emergency Cabinet that calls for early parliamentary elections.

The man added that they told the president that “the situation cannot continue this way.”

Thousands of protesters have been rallying across the country for the past two days, railing against top leaders including the president, prime minister and parliament speaker whom they blame for decades of corruption

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10 p.m.

Small numbers of protesters are attacking public and private property in the Lebanese capital of Beirut after security forces fired tear gas on demonstrators demanding the resignation of the government.

Young men Friday night attacked some banks and street signs in downtown Beirut in an area between parliament and government headquarters.

Thousands of people have protested around the country for the second day, closing major roads over proposed taxes by the government.

Tear gas is still being fired at protesters in Beirut at night after the vast majority of the protesters left.

The protesters attacked the policemen with stones, fire crackers and water bottles.

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8:25 p.m.

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters outside government headquarters in central Beirut shortly after Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave a long-awaited speech.

The protesters rejected Hariri’s speech in which he gave his political adversaries a 72-hour ultimatum to back his reform agenda amid growing nationwide protests over the country’s worsening economic crisis.

Thousands chanted Friday evening “Hariri get out” in rejection of his speech.

Protesters then tried to break their way through toward the government headquarters when they were struck with tear gas making them franticly runaway in different directions.

They were then struck with water cannons.

Thousands of protesters have been rallying in different parts of the countries including outside the government house for two days, calling for the government’s resignation

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7:15 p.m.

Lebanon’s prime minister has given his political adversaries a 72-hour ultimatum to back his reform agenda amid growing nationwide protests over the country’s worsening economic crisis.

In an address to the nation, Saad Hariri blamed political partners in his national unity government, which includes the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, for repeatedly blocking is reform efforts.

He called on them to make “clear, decisive and final” decisions regarding his proposed structural reforms to fix the ailing and heavily indebted economy.

Hariri appeared to suggest he would resign if that did not happen, but he did not elaborate.

Thousands of protesters have been rallying in different parts of the countries including outside the government house for two days, calling for the government’s resignation.

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12:05 p.m.

Demonstrators in Lebanon are blocking major roads across the country in a second day of protests against proposed new taxes, which come amid a severe economic crisis.

Hundreds of people burned tires on highways and intersections Friday, sending up clouds of black smoke in scattered protests.

Two Syrian workers died Thursday when they were trapped in a shop that was set on fire by rioters. Dozens of people were injured.

The street demonstrations began Thursday evening and quickly escalated into some of the biggest protests in years. They were sparked when government announced plans for new taxes on such items as voice calls made through messaging applications, including Whatsapp.

The protests could plunge Lebanon into a political crisis with unpredictable repercussions for the economy, which has been in steady decline.

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