Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. That was because a cabinet paper proposed a tax on WhatsApp calls.
Camera footage showed thousands of protesters throughout Lebanon demonstrating, setting fire to tires and blocking road traffic. This is the largest protest movement in Lebanon in years, foreign reports said.
It is also the second demonstration in less than a month to oppose the current government and political climate in Lebanon.
Lebanon is said to be a country with a severe financial crisis and one of the world's most indebted countries. The government is currently struggling to meet its budget.
Previously, Lebanon's cabinet unveiled a new revenue boost, which charges 20 cents per call via voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which is used by applications including Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Facebook Calls and FaceTime. Information Minister Jamal al-Jarah said that the cabinet is discussing a proposal to raise value-added tax by 2 percentage points in 2021 and a further 2 percentage points in 2022, until it reaches 15%.
However, amid protests by angry Lebanese people, Telecom Minister Mohammed Choucair telephoned Lebanese broadcasters saying the proposed tax on WhatsApp calls has been revoked.
But one of the protestors said, "We are not here over the WhatsApp, we are here over everything: over fuel, food, bread, over everything."