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Lebanese public transport unions call for 3 days strike

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BEIRUT: Lebanon’s taxi, bus, and truck drivers have started a three-day strike, blocking roads, and demanding the government address surging gas prices and the broader economic crisis.

Beirut was eerily quiet on Wednesday as protesting drivers kicked off the strike and blocked main highways and intersections, some with burning tires.

“There was a time when a taxi driver’s son could become a doctor, an engineer, anything prestigious,” said taxi driver Hussein Assam, 55, who was protesting near central Beirut’s once-thriving Hamra Street. “Now the taxi driver can’t even feed his children.”

Unions have said the strike actions will last from 5:00 am until 3:00 pm local time.

“If there’s no outcome today, there will be later,” Assam said, looking on the former commercial boulevard that has been reduced to extreme poverty. “The poor person who can’t eat anymore is going to burn the entire country.”

It was the second time in three weeks unions held strike action, forcing schools, universities, and many shops to close. With public transport virtually non-existent in Lebanon, many rely on shared taxis, buses, or minivans for their daily commute and travel.

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