Activists with the We Want Accountability campaign Saturday vowed to escalate their action during a sit-in staged outside the Value Added Tax office in Beirut's Adlieh district.
Security forces deployed at the entrance of the building blocked it to prevent protesters, who reject the high taxes on the Lebanese, from entering the premises. This prompted the activists to shout slogans demanding the gate be reopened to allow employees to enter, while promising that the activists themselves would not enter the building. Security forces were then encouraged to back down and clear the entrance.
"There are more than 250 million dollars robbed from the VAT,” Nehmat Badreddine, a spokesperson for the group said, adding that the stolen amount could easily finance 40 percent of the new salary hike.
A protester, who identified himself as a member of the Union Coordination Committee, told Al-Jadeed that "UCC is part of the civil society movements."
"We also demand an end to negligence and corruption...we have been bearing the same slogans for the past few years," he said.
Protesters sprayed a slogan on the asphalt reading "A Corruption and Theft Hub," referring to the VAT facility.
The demonstrators vowed to escalate their endeavors and promised surprises in the upcoming days.
The group has been active for three months, gaining broad attention after calling for Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and security officers to be held accountable for the excessive violence by police against protesters during a You Stink movement protest on August 22.
Several protests have so far been held outside government buildings and facilities, denouncing corruption and negligence, especially regarding the electricity crisis which impinges a heavy burden on citizens who are paying two bills: one for Electricite du Liban and another for private generator owners.