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Lebanon police clash with students protesting tuition fee hike

Tear gas was used to disperse the students, who were attempting to approach the main gate of the American University of Beirut (AUB)

Students clashed with riot police in Lebanon during furious protests against tuition fee hikes at top university, The New Arab reported.

Tear gas was used to disperse the students, who were attempting to approach the main gate of the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Students fought back by hurling water bottles and other objects at the riot police blocking the way.

Lebanese students burn dumpsters while protesting a decision by top universities to adopt a new dollar exchange rate to price tuition in Beirut's Hamra district on December 19, 2020. - The protest came in response to a decision by AUB and the Lebanese American University (LAU), another top private institution, to price tuition based on an exchange rate of 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar. Near the entrance of the American University of Beirut (AUB) in the city's Hamra district, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were trying to approach the main gate. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanese students burn dumpsters while protesting a decision by top universities to adopt a new dollar exchange rate to price tuition in Beirut's Hamra district on December 19, 2020 [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

In a "student day of rage", the protestors chanted anti-government slogans, and demanded affordable education. Later on, students vandalised banks and set fire to dumpsters until security forces pushed back.

READ: Lebanon to get first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in 2 months

The protests come in response to AUB and the Lebanon American University (LAU)'s decision to base their tuitions fees on an exchange rate of 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.

The move has sparked fears that other universities could raise their tuition fees, leading to a potential exodus of students from private institutions, whilst publicly funded universities remain at breaking point.

The Lebanese pound has lost up to 80 percent of its value over the past year, as the country is mired in the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

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