BEIRUT — Lebanon was virtually shut down today by the first general strike in 35 years, a nationwide walkout against war and runaway inflation that has forced some to sell their kidneys and corneas to survive.
"This is the last chance for the authorities to do something," said Antoine Bishara, head of the 250,000-strong General Labor Federation, which called the stoppage. "If the strike doesn't work, we are a dying nation."
Bishara added: "The strike is to stop the war and end the suffering of the people. The strike will continue for weeks and months if need be until our demands are fulfilled."
Lebanon, bled by 12 years of civil war, is now in the throes of financial collapse. The Lebanese pound has lost 83% of its value against the dollar this year, and the inflation rate is about 350%.