Gas stations in Lebanon continue strike despite protests against unavailability of fuel

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BEIRUT, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Gas stations in Lebanon continued their strike on Friday even as demonstrators used their cars to block the roads in protest of the unavailability of gasoline, Al Jadeed TV channel reported.

Demonstrators in some areas, including the third largest city Sidon, even attacked gas stations, forcing them to supply fuel to their vehicles.

On Wednesday, the Lebanese Syndicate of Gas Stations Owners announced that it would start an open strike on Thursday after its huge losses caused by the increase in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to the Lebanese pound.

Gas stations in Lebanon are losing money because they are buying fuel from oil companies in U.S. dollar while selling it to clients in Lebanese pound.

However, the banks are reluctant to issue U.S. dollars given the current unstable financial situation in Lebanon, forcing gas stations to go to currency exchange offices which charge more than 1,800 Lebanese pounds for one dollar, higher than the fixed official exchange rate of 1,507.

A day earlier, Lebanese caretaker Energy Minister Nada Boustani announced that her ministry will import fuel within 10 to 15 days after evaluation of bids next week.

Boustani previously said that the ministry had been selling diesel oil to citizens in Lebanese pound since the start of the dollar crisis.

She asked people "not to pay in dollar to companies who claim they are purchasing (diesel oil) in dollar." Enditem

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