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World News

Christian quits government after third day of Lebanese protests

A Lebanese Christian party quit the coalition government Saturday as tens of thousands of people took to the streets for a third day of protests against tax increases and alleged official corruption.

After protesters marched in Beirut, Tripoli and other cities, Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese forces party, said his group was resigning from the government.

"We are now convinced that the government is unable to take the necessary steps to save the situation," said Geagea. "Therefore, the bloc decided to ask its ministers to resign from the government."

The protesters took to the streets despite calls for calm from politicians and dozens of arrests on Friday. Many waved billowing Lebanese flags and insisted the protests should remain peaceful and non-sectarian.

The demonstrators are demanding a sweeping overhaul of Lebanon's political system, citing grievances ranging from austerity measures to poor infrastructure.

They have blocked main roads and threatened to topple the country's fragile coalition government.

Demonstrators in Beirut celebrated the news of the coalition party's resignation, calling on other blocs to leave the government. In Tripoli, they let off fireworks.

"I am thinking maybe it's better all the government resign," said one protester, 24-year-old Ali. "I am thinking maybe it's better to go to another election as people already woke up".

The army on Saturday called on protesters to "express themselves peacefully without harming public and private property".

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