Protests return to Lebanon as government discusses austerity

Dozens of Lebanese military and security veterans are protesting for the second time in two weeks against proposed cuts to their pensions and benefits, as the government discusses a budget bill that aims to cut public spending and usher in austerity measures.

The protesters gathered Friday in downtown Beirut outside the government offices to denounce what they called "painful" and "unpopular" measures. They asked the government to address corruption and retrieve lost funds instead of slashing their benefits.

Professors in the state-owned Lebanese University also protested Friday potential cuts to their wages.

The government is facing public discontent as it prepares a budget that aims to tackle a widening deficit and a national debt that stands at more than 150 percent of GDP.