Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, has announced he is resigning following almost two weeks of anti-government protests.
Mr Hariri said he had hit a “dead end” and would tender his resignation to President Michel Aoun.
Demonstrations across the country have brought it to a standstill. Banks, schools and universities have been shut as a cross-section of society called for the whole government to go.
Hundreds of thousands of people have set aside religious differences and political affiliations and taken to the streets to demand an end to government corruption, inequality and sectarianism.
There have been demonstrations from the northern and traditionally conservative city of Tripoli, through the capital Beirut and all the way to the southern city of Tyre.
Those taking part want the political class that has dominated the country since its 1975-1990 civil war to be overthrown.
Its current economic crisis is the worst since that period, with a black market for US dollars developing in the last month or so.
Mr Hariri, 49, took up his post in December 2016. He was also Lebanon’s prime minister between November 2009 and June 2011.
In a televised address, he said he had tried to “find a way out” of Lebanon’s difficulties.
He added: “It is time for us to have a big shock to face the crisis. To all partners in political life, our responsibility today is how we protect Lebanon and revive its economy.”
Earlier, the main anti-government protest site in Beirut was attacked and ransacked by hundreds of Hezbollah supporters.
Groups of men, some of them wielding sticks, scuffled with protesters who were blocking roads, burning and dismantling tents.
Security forces moved in as the unrest flared on the 13th day of protests.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has criticised the anti-government action and some of the men chanted slogans praising him.
Hezbollah and its allies dominate the government, and Nasrallah has claimed the demonstrations were backed by foreign powers and rival political groups.
Dozens of other Hezbollah supporters attacked a roadblock set up by protesters.
Hezbollah’s appeal is based on its resistance to Israel’s occupation of parts of Lebanon.
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