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Watch back: Protesters in Lebanon flood streets for fourth day

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Demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Tripoli
Demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Tripoli -
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REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim
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Protesters flooded the streets for a fourth day on Sunday as part of anti-government protests over a deadline to deliver reforms for the country's hard-hit economy.

"I didn't expect people from the country's north, south and Beirut to join hands and like each other. The protests have brought together everyone and this has never happened before," said Sahar Younis, a 32-year-old worker with a non-governmental organisation.

Music blared in the streets as protesters chanted and waved the Lebanese flag.

Thousands were expected to show up to protest and calls have been mounting for members of the government to resign. The Christian Lebanese Forces party, allied with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, resigned over the weekend.

Hariri gave his coalition partners a 72-hour deadline on Friday to agree to reforms and suggested he might resign if the reforms are not passed.

It would be hard for the various parties in the coalition government to form a new cabinet if Hariri, a Sunni Muslim backed by the West and Sunni Gulf Arab allies, resigns, Reuters reported.

The protests were in part sparked by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls.

"All of the leaders should be put under house arrest and be held accountable to return the money they stole from the state so Lebanon can get back on its feet," said Antoine Zahli, 43, a pharmacist who was among the protesters in downtown Beirut.

GDP growth in Lebanon is estimated to have only grown by 0.2% in 2018, the World Bank said. The country has also been heavily impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis, taking in an estimated 1.5 million refugees, the World Bank said.

The country ranked 138th out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for 2018.

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